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MSU Science Festival explains 'art of coffee'

April 18, 2016

Cara Nader said she’s been making coffee professionally since she was 18 years old. Now, she runs a third-wave coffee shop in Lansing, specializing in bringing “high-quality coffee to the residents, students, and tourists of Lansing Michigan,” according to the shop's website. 

Strange Matter Coffee Co., Nader’s brainchild, came to MSU as a part of the Science Festival last weekend. The event Nader and a few other employees ran was entitled The Art and Science of Coffee and was free for students and residents to come and experience.

“Basically what we’re doing today is highlighting the difference between pour-over brewing and auto-drip brewing,” Nader said. “Most chain shops and what a lot of people have at home are these things that you just scoop some coffee into, press a button, and walk away and come back and you have coffee. What we do here is a lot more intricate.”

Strange Matter’s brewing methods are particular — it doesn't have an auto-drip brewer at all in its shop. Their brewers all look like science experiments, which Nader joked about during her presentation. Most resemble the glass beakers reminiscent of science classrooms and are very particular about timing and temperature.

“We basically look at brewing coffee as a science experiment,” Nader said. “But we know what the variables are and how to control them.”

Nader, after speaking to event attendees for a few minutes as a group, opened the event up and invited attendees to up come watch and ask questions about their brewing process.

“I’m a fan of Strange Matter, so when I heard they we’re going to do an event here I had to come,” human medicine freshman Francisco Gironza said. “It’s cool to hear them explain their expertise.”

Graduate student Logan Rowe said he came out to the event because he’s a fan of coffee and also because he heard Strange Matter was giving out free samples.

“I live pretty close to their shop,” Rowe said. “And I go there like once a week. I’ve spent a lot of time watching them make coffee, but I’ve never really asked them how they do it.”

Nader said she loved being able to tell people more about the art — and science — of brewing coffee.

“This is what I love,” Nader said. “I didn’t open Strange Matter to make a million dollars. I opened it to make good coffee.”

The Art and Science of Coffee is an event hosted by MSU’s Science Festival. More events throughout the week can be found here.

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