Caffeinated Chemistry

Noah Yan teaches Roasted: The Molecular Gastronomy of Coffee Intersession course

Noah Yan, A&S’19 and instructor of the Intersession course Roasted: The Molecular Gastronomy of Coffee, hopes students will think of their barista as a chemist. The course delved into the art and science behind what makes the perfect cup of coffee.

Roasted details the chemical and biological reactions that create the flavors in a cup of coffee. That includes analyzing the roasting process, preparation methods, and distinctions between sweeteners and creamers. All while looking into the health benefits and effects of each. Yan graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences with a degree in molecular and cellular biology this past December. He said the idea for the class has been percolating in his mind since his freshman year.

“Coffee is this interesting intersection between biology and chemistry,” Yan says. “On one end, it’s how the beans grow, and on the other it’s in how you brew it and how you roast it. There are these reactions and processes that we can see unified when we make coffee.”

Read more about the intersession course on The Hub.