The Science of Coffee

Kody Bartley
Common Grounds
Central Texas Teen Science Cafe


Have you ever thought about where coffee comes from and how it is made? Many people drink it everyday but few know the science behind coffee production. If you’re like me, you buy your coffee from the grocery store or the local coffee shop but never stop to think about where that coffee came from or the long and chemistry filled journey it took to get here. That’s why Central Texas Teen Science Café decided to explore the science of coffee at our January café.

Our speaker, Kody Bartley is a barista and manager at a local coffee shop called Common Grounds. He brought a team of baristas and coffee roasters to help him during his presentation and activity.

Our café started with lots of donuts and (of course) coffee! Breakfast food was a great addition to our coffee theme. After we had our fill of food, Kody introduced us to the world of coffee production and the science behind the popular drink. It was intriguing and fascinating and we learned so much! For instance, did you know that coffee “cherries” grow on a tree that can reach heights anywhere from 5 to 7 feet tall? Or that coffee flavors are dependent on the region the coffee is grown? We didn’t either, but we were excited to make the discovery together!

Hands on Activity

For our activity, teens were invited to participate in a coffee flavor tasting! We set up stations with small cups of five different kinds/flavors of coffee and had teens taste each one. The teens were asked to test out their new knowledge to try and guess what region each coffee type had originated from based on the flavors, texture, and strength of the coffee. Teens loved the challenge and asked tons of questions to guide them through the tasting.

Our activity definitely put your taste buds to the ultimate test!