2017 Program

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Dr. Henry "Hoby" Wedler, Food and Beverage Sensory Expert

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Dr. Henry “Hoby” Wedler has been completely blind since birth. He just completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of California, Davis, he is the founder and director of the nonprofit Accessible Science, and he is a food and beverage sensory expert. Hoby found his passion for food, drink and how they relate to the senses when he began hosting truly blind wine and beer experiences in 2011. Hoby grew up in Petaluma, California where early on he fell in love with beautiful Sonoma County. When he’s not busy pursuing his academic studies or leading his blind or visually impaired chemistry camp students in conducting hands-on organic lab experiments through touch and smell, he turns his attention to food and drink – where he’s most passionate about flavor, accurate flavor descriptors, and how flavor and aroma relate to science.

In 2012, Hoby was one of only fourteen individuals honored at the White House when he was named one of President Barack Obama’s Champions of Change for enhancing educational and employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities.

In 2016, Hoby’s work in the food and drink industry was generously recognized by Forbes Magazine when he was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in the food and drink category. This prestigious honor is granted to 300 individuals from around the world all under 30 years of age across ten categories, making a total of 30 individuals per category. Hoby was also recently recognized as one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s 2016 40 under 40 recipients. Hoby completed his Ph.D. in December, 2016 and is now working full-time in the food and drink industry.



Morten Munchow, Researcher, Consultant & Teacher, CoffeeMind

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Morten Münchow graduated as a student of philosophy and biology in 2005 and was immediately employed as a coffee roaster after handing in his thesis. In 2017 he started his freelance career as teacher at London School of Coffee and part time research at Food Science in Copenhagen and consultant for coffee roasters world wide. As a researcher he has been working on cappuccino foam chemistry, roast defect, water quality, processing methods, starter cultures, sensory science, fertilization of coffee plants, roasting defect, behavioral economics of consumer preferences, focus groups, roast degree preferences. A consolidtaion of the freelance coffee carrers the company CoffeeMind was formed that works with education, consultancy and research which invoved hiring sensory scientist Ida Steen and research wise we have been narrowing down our focus to concentrate on sensory science and coffee roasting which is the work Morten will present at the sensory summit.


Rob Hoos, Roasting Consultant & Director Of Coffee, Rob Hoos Coffee Consulting/Nossa Familia Coffee

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Rob Hoos is the director of coffee for Nossa Familia Coffee in Portland, OR as well as a coffee roasting consultant for Rob Hoos Coffee Consulting. He is the author of the book “Modulating the Flavor Profile of Coffee: One Roaster’s Manifesto” which has been well received by thousands of roasters world wide. It is also the basic framework for the experiments that he and Morten will be presenting at the sensory summit. Rob is heavily involved with the SCAA as a Specialized Lead Instructor for roasting, content contributor, and subject matter expert for the Roaster’s Guild of America. He holds certificates in Roaster’s Guild Level 1 and 2. Additionally he serves on the Roaster’s Guild Certificate Committee and the Roaster’s Guild Executive Council. Rob started in the coffee industry as a barista in 2006 and has been roasting coffee since 2009.


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Dr. David Mills, Professor, University of California Davis

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Lucia Solis, Fermentation Specialist, Scott Laboratories

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David Mills is a Professor and the Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in the Departments of Food Science & Technology at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Mills studies the molecular biology and ecology of bacteria that play an active role in gut health or fermented foods. In the last 20 years Dr. Mills has mentored over 30 graduate students and postdocs and published more than 150 papers, including seminal work on lactic acid bacterial and bifidobacterial genomics. At UC Davis, Dr. Mills has worked to define and translate the beneficial aspects of human milk and its role in human health. Dr. Mills has previously served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Society for Microbiology and currently serves as an editor for the journal mSystems. In 2010 Dr. Mills was awarded the Cargill Flavor Systems Specialties Award from the American Dairy Science Association. In 2012 he was named the Peter J. Shields Chair in Dairy Food Science and in 2015 he was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Mills also serves on the Science/Research Advisory Boards of several food and health-focused companies and his research has helped launch two start up companies.

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Lucia Solis received her B.S. from UC Davis in Viticulture and Enology and spent 7 years working in Napa Valley making wine. Solis began working with coffee and cacao in 2014 with Scott Laboratories. Currently her role is to apply selected strains of yeast to control fermentations at origin, focusing on central and south american washed coffee.



Carla D. Martin, PhD, Executive Director; Lecturer, Fine Cacao And Chocolate Institute; Harvard University

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Carla D. Martin, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Carla is a social anthropologist whose current research focuses on ethics, quality, and politics in cacao and chocolate and draws on several years of domestic and international ethnographic experience. Find her online at carladmartin.com and @carladmartin.


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Chris Kornman, Education & Lab Manager,Royal Coffee, Inc.

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Chris Kornman recently relocated to Oakland, California to help develop an education and lab program for The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room. Over the past decade he’s logged extensive travel through the coffee lands across East Africa and Brazil. His career includes experience as a cupper, roaster, educator, musician, and writer.

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Linda Harris, Specialist in Cooperative Extension, UC Davis

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Dr. Linda Harris is a Specialist in Cooperative Extension in Microbial Food Safety and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis campus. She oversees a research program on the microbial food safety of fresh fruits and vegetables and tree nuts and provides expertise on food safety microbiology throughout the food chain. Dr. Harris is actively involved with the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) and was awarded the IAFP Educator Award and Frozen Food Foundation Research Award in 2004 and 2010, respectively. In 2013 she was elected to the IAFP Executive Board as Secretary and is currently serving as President of the association. Dr. Harris has served two terms on the National Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Criteria for Foods. While on sabbatical leave in 2013-2014 Dr. Harris had the opportunity to work as a subject matter expert at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Mike Strumpf, Director of Coffee, Swiss Water Coffee Company

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Mike Strumpf is a Licensed Q Grader, SCAA Instructor, SCAA Competitions Committee Member, Cup Tasters Pathway Committee Member, and Head Judge for the World Barista Championship. A right handed native of California, Mike immerses himself in Canadian pop music and squash when not chasing after his three dogs.


Charlie Bamforth,  Distinguished Professor, UC Davis

Charlie Bamforth, Distinguished Professor, UC Davis

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Dr. Charlie Bamforth is Distinguished Professor and Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor at UC Davis. Part of the brewing industry since 1978, he is formerly Deputy Director-General of Brewing Research International and Research Manager and Quality Assurance Manager of Bass Brewers. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham, England and was previously Visiting Professor of Brewing at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Charlie is a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. Bamforth is Editor in Chief of the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists. In 2011 Charlie was honored with the Award of Distinction from the American Society of Brewing Chemists. Charlie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2015 “in recognition of his leading contribution to advancements in the study and practice of brewing science over the course of a long and distinguished career”. In 2016 Charlie was given the Lifetime Achievement Stewardship Award by the UC Davis Foundation.

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Christopher Schooley, Owner - Roaster, Troubadour Maltings

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Chris Schooley's coffee odyssey began in 1997 at Margie’s Java Joint in Greeley, CO. In 1999, he was hired by Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea in Chicago, IL where he managed their first retail location, eventually working his way into production and roasting. He then moved on to Metropolis Coffee in Chicago where he became the Director of Coffee Purchasing and Roasting. Chris was elected to the Roasters Guild Executive Council in 2008 and served as Chair for 2011-2012. Chris has also been a regular contributor to Roast Magazine and the Specialty Coffee Chronicle. In 2009, Chris moved with his family back to Colorado where he started working with Sweet Maria's on creating a service working as a conduit between coffee farmers and small roasters called Coffee Shrub. After doing some collaborations with craft brewers he realized that there was an opportunity in that industry to be a conduit between Colorado farmers and brewers as well as to develop unique and flavorful malts. He began building Troubadour Maltings with Steve Clark in Fort Collins in 2014, and now Troubadour has been in production since April 2015 providing Colorado grown and malted grains to a number of craft brewers throughout the country.


Ida Steen, Ph.D. Student, Sensory Scientist, CoffeeMind

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Ida Steen has a masters degree in Gastronomy and Health. She is passionate about sensory science that is also the core of her industrial PhD project with the aim of investigating how to improve sensory performance. Ida is AST in Sensory Skills and also involved in the SCAE sensory creators group. As CoffeeMinds sensory scientist Ida is doing research for industrial partners, teaching, consulting roaster start ups and supervising students who conduct research on different aspects of coffee quality at The Department of Food Science in Copenhagen.

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Jean-Xavier Guinard, Professor, UC Davis

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Jean-Xavier is a sensory scientist and consumer researcher at UC Davis where he teaches courses on sensory evaluation, consumer testing and the chemical senses and conducts research on how the sensory properties of foods and beverages influence our food preferences, choice and intake, and on the optimization of the sensory quality of consumer products. Jean-Xavier is co-Director of the UC Davis Coffee Center, where he will lead sensory science and consumer research on coffee.


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Emma Sage, Coffee Science Manager, Specialty Coffee Association


Hanna Neuschwander, Director of Communications, World Coffee Research

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Emma Sage is the Science Manager at the SCAA, where she promotes research, acts as the primary liaison between science and industry, and serves as the go-to science teacher for coffee professionals. In this position, she has investigated a variety of scientific topics relevant to the specialty coffee industry by way of original research projects, content for membership and professional development, special reports and literature reviews, and regular contributions to the SCAA web site and Magazine. She holds a M.S. in Botany and B.A. in Ecology. She has experience with a variety of laboratory and field research projects in plant physiology, ecology, enology, and climate change science has given her a solid foundation to apply to coffee. She has always been committed to science education and is dedicated to acting as an effective resource for the specialty coffee industry.

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Hanna is an accomplished science communicator. As communications director for World Coffee Research, an organization dedicated to the future of coffee, she is responsible for communicating to the coffee industry about critical issues facing coffee, from it's lack of genetic diversity to the threats of climate change. Nothing pleases her more than translating the scientific knowledge of her colleagues—geneticists, breeders, phytopathologists, agronomists, and more—into compelling stories that people passionate about coffee can understand. Knowledge is power, and the more we know about coffee, the more we can do to shape the future of this powerful global commodity to improve the lives of those who grow it.

Hanna is also the author of Left Coast Roast, a guidebook to artisan and influential coffee roasters on the west coast. Her writing about coffee and food has appeared in publications including Travel + Leisure, Edible Seattle, Portland Monthly, and the Oregonian, among others. She has presented about coffee-related topics at everywhere from San Francisco to Boston. She lives in Portland, Ore.



Rebecca Bleibaum, Chief Sensory Officer/Professor, Tragon Corporation/UCDE

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Since graduating from UC Davis and Washington University with degrees in Consumer Behavior and Experimental Psychology, Bleibaum has worked in the sensory and consumer sciences field. Throughout her career, she has been designing custom primary research for Fortune 500 companies including most major food and beverage, wine and spirits, electronics, office supplies, apparel, sporting goods, personal care, and confections manufacturers. In addition, she maintains active involvement in professional organizations, is co-author of "Sensory Evaluation Practices, 4th edition, conducts global workshops, specializes in sensory claims substantiation for advertising, and is co-developer of the UC Davis program on Applied Sensory Science and Consumers Testing Certificate Program, now in it’s 16th year. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband, teenage son, horses, and cats, and occasionally makes wine that is drinkable.