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2020-2021 Catalog

FYS 143 Coffee

Coffee has a ubiquitous and somewhat unique role in our society. While some tend to think of it merely as a vehicle for caffeine, it is also the basis on which cafe culture originated and exists, a highly-traded commodity crop with huge economic impacts and worldwide sourcing, and a finely-calibrated culinary subfield that draws on myriad engineering and chemical approaches to generate wildly different sensory experiences. The sheer level of integration of coffee into every aspect of our lives makes it a highly suitable interdisciplinary topic to consider and explore. This course aims to train students in information literacy via the investigation of coffee from several scholarly angles: a social approach, where students ask themselves (and others) the values and importance of the ritualistic nature of coffee and how it fits into their everyday lives; a scientific approach, where different flavor and texture experiences are explored; an engineering approach, where aspects of a coffee extraction are modulated to yield vastly different results; and finally, a humanist approach, which ties together what they have observed over the semester, and asks them to express their ideas of what defines a positive coffee experience.