Paper with color bars and coffee beans behind a phone taking a photo
Roastpic, a new photo-based technology from University of California, Davis, uses a photo sheet with size and color guidelines to weed out defects of coffee beans. (Courtesy of Roastpic)

App for Coffee Quality Assurance Engineered at UC Davis


Researchers at the UC Davis Coffee Center in the College of Engineering, through a partnership with cloud service provider Fabscale, have engineered a new way to analyze coffee for quality control at a low cost. Their new photo-based app Roastpic is launching on April 12 to give anyone with a smartphone a better picture of the quality of their coffee beans. 

Professionals across the world are currently selecting coffee beans based on color or size to avoid defective beans. This selection process gives valuable insights into how the final roast and brew will taste, but it's also an expensive and tedious process. The UC Davis team of student and faculty engineers who developed Roastpic see the app as a solution for this problem. App users simply have to lay their beans out on a specific photosheet and snap a photo to get insightful data on the beans they've photographed.

The app started as an idea in the mind of William Ristenpart, director of the Coffee Center and professor of chemical engineering, and came to fruition through the work of team of UC Davis engineers from the biological and agricultural engineering, chemical engineering and computer science departments. Ristenpart serves as Roastpic's chief executive officer, alongside Associate Professor of Cooperative Extension Irwin Donis-Gonzalez as chief scientific officer and Ph.D. candidate Xiao (Harold) Liu as chief technical officer.

Roastpic’s Free and Premium versions will officially be launched to the public at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Chicago in April. The Professional version will be available during Q3 of 2024. Roastpic Professional will be fully integrated into the dashboards of Fabscale, a company founded as a joint venture between German coffee roaster manufacturer Probat and coffee software solutions supplier Cropster.

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