Prof. Chahan Yeretzian

Head of the Coffee Excellence Center, 
ZHAW - Zurich University of Applied Sciences

"Professor for Analytical Chemistry, Bioanalytical Chemistry and Diagnostics at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and Head of the Coffee Excellence Center. Earned MBA from University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Joined 1996 Nestlé R&D in Lausanne, where his research covered everything from liquid coffee, coffee-concentrate, soluble coffee to single-serve systems. Joined 2008 ZHAW where he founded the Coffee Excellence Center and initiated the first post-graduate degree on coffee.

  • Board member of Swiss SCA Chapter, since 2008

  • 2015-2017: Director on Board of SCAE & Chair of Research Advisory Council

  • 2017 – 2018: Director on Board of SCA & Chair of Research Advisory Council

  • Since 2019: Chair of SCA Coffee Science Advisory Board to the Coffee Science Foundation

  • Since 2017: Board member of ASIC (Association for the Science and Information on Coffee)

  • Since 2017: Advisory Board of German Museum in Munich for special exhibition ""„Kosmos Kaffee“

  • CEO Swiss Coffee Alliance GmbH"

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Fabiana Carvalho

University of Campinas

Fabiana Carvalho is a Brazilian neuroscientist who received her MSc in Biochemistry and her PhD in Psychobiology studying neural processes of perception and memory. She has also worked as a postdoctoral researcher on a project investigating sensory perception as an anticipatory and constructive process instead of a mere passive and reactive process.

She is currently a collaborating researcher at the University of Campinas, Brazil. Her research project is focused on understanding multisensory flavour perception. She is interested in scrutinizing the influence of extrinsic factors (that is, ambiance factors) on the expectation and perception of flavour in specialty coffee. This research project, entited ‘The Coffee Sensorium’, has been conducted under the supervision of Prof Charles Spence at University of Oxford, UK."

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Florac De Bruyn

Research Scientist
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Nestlé Research

Florac De Bruyn is a microbiologist with a keen interest for spontaneous food fermentations. He obtained his PhD in Bioengineering Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium) through a bilateral collaboration with Nestlé Research. During his PhD, he explored post-harvest processing from a microbiological point of view and investigated the influence of the coffee-associated microbiome on cup quality. He had the opportunity to apply his skills in plantations around the world, dealing with different coffee varieties and processing methods.


Mackenzie Batali

Graduate Student Researcher,
University of California, Davis

Mackenzie is a graduate student in the second year of a PhD at UC Davis, in the Food Science graduate group working with the UC Davis Coffee Center. Before attending UC Davis, she worked as a chemist at Emerald Kalama Chemical in flavor and fragrance R&D, which turned her interest towards sensory science, where she has been a part of the foundational sensory research at the UC Davis Coffee Center.


Molly Spencer

Postdoctoral Fellow,
Monell Chemical Senses Center

Molly Spencer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. She earned her B.S. in Food Science at North Carolina State University and her Ph.D. in Food Science (Sensory and Consumer Science) at the University of California, Davis. In the summer and fall of 2015, Molly was involved in a project with the Specialty Coffee Association to update the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. Her dissertation research explored sensory and culinary strategies for plant-based diets. Molly is still involved in research on both coffee and plant-based diets, and she firmly believes that pizza is the most balanced meal out there.

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Sophia Jiyuan Zhang

Research Scientist,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Nestlé Research

Sophia Jiyuan Zhang obtained her PhD degree in Bioengineering Sciences in Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium). Her PhD project, in collaboration with Nestlé Research, focused on the metabolomics of coffee post-harvest processing and its link to the coffee quality. Sophia has worked on multiple coffee plantations around the world to conduct coffee processing experiments. During her research, she applied multiple analytical techniques to target a wide range of chemical compounds, relating to coffee flavor generation, microbial activity, and plant metabolism.

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Peter Giuliano

Chief Research Officer, Specialty Coffee Association

Peter Giuliano began his coffee career in 1988 as a barista in San Diego, California. Since then, he has worked as a roaster, cupper, coffee buyer and business owner, serving as co-owner and Director of Coffee for Counter Culture Coffee until 2012. Joining the SCAA as a Senior Director in that year, Peter now serves as Chief Research Officer for the Specialty Coffee Association, directing Market, Economic, Scientific and Sustainability Research Activities for the association.


Sam Lopane

Associate Culinary Scientist,

Sam Lopane is a food scientist and product developer originally hailing from North Carolina, USA. In 2018, he earned M.S. in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Sciences at Clemson University and published his Master's thesis "An Investigation of the Shelf Life of Cold Brew Coffee and the Influence of Extraction Temperature Using Chemical, Microbial and Sensory Analysis". He currently uses his background in food science and chemistry in research and development at Freshly, a direct-to-consumer meal company.


Olivia Auell

Sensory Scientist II,
Synergy Flavors

Olivia Auell is a Sensory Scientist at Synergy Flavors in Chicago, Illinois. She earned an MS in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, specializing in flavor chemistry, and holds bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry and Spanish. Her passion for specialty coffee led to her career in sensory science, and she enjoys working at the intersection between the two. She has curated the Re;co Sensory Experience Room for the past two years and has spoken about Descriptive Analysis and coffee quality grading at Expo and Sensory Summit.