The Midland Local Section held a science cafe,  Have a Cup of Chemistry: Chemical Extraction and Coffee-Making, February of 2010.  This café was targeted to middle and high school students, parents and teachers.  Publicity was accomplished through school district science coordinators, local college science clubs, the Dow Corning newsboard, and an article in the local paper.


About 15 attendees were treated to an explanation of chemical extraction; what it is, its financial value (including the sizes of the coffee, tea and fragrance industries), and its everyday benefits (including flavors and spices).  Audience participation was used for demonstration of the impact of various variables (surface area, solvent type, solvent purity, and temperature) upon the extraction of red cabbage indicator. (Gina Malczewski)

Angelo Cassar gave a slide presentation about the sources of coffee, and the history of its grinding, roasting and brewing.  He discussed the factors that affect its flavor (relating back to extraction variables), and distributed samples of the “green” beans for the audience to see.  He showed his own equipment for these processes, and demonstrated roasting and brewing.  Samples of different types of coffees were available for the audience to taste, and snacks were also provided.


The program was scheduled from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, but actually ran almost an hour longer than expected, in large part due to the questions and interest of the participants.  Audience feedback indicated that everyone enjoyed the presentation.  Asked what they liked the best, 33% chose the coffee-tasting, 13%, the atmosphere, and 47%, the information.  Among the suggestions for the future was this comment:  “Great program—more attendees should have been here!”


Thank you to the Midland Local Section for providing the information for this blog.