By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
On a typical day, you can find San Clemente, Calif., sophomore Christina Beaulieu working a shift at Common Grounds or grabbing an iced vanilla latte from Pinewood Coffee Roasters — two activities that stem from her love of coffee.
Beaulieu isn’t just your average college student with a craving for caffeine. She interned on a coffee farm in Hawaii this summer as a way to prepare for her dream of working in the coffee industry.
“I actually used to not like coffee — I started drinking it around my sophomore year of high school. I slowly started to get more into drinking it and enjoying coffee shops,” Beaulieu said. “Since I’m into science, I also thought it was interesting to start looking into the chemical aspects of coffee.”
Beaulieu spent a month and a half at the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation in Kona, Hawaii, where she learned more about the coffee industry, led tours of the farm and assisted with packaging and roasting coffee.
“I learned a lot about the coffee roasting process and picking process,” Beaulieu said. “I drank way too much coffee because we got free cups throughout the day.”
Beaulieu said that her favorite part about the internship was giving tours of the farm. She was able to teach others about the coffee making process and the coffee industry.
“My favorite part was probably giving the tours — I love teaching people about stuff that I’m interested in, and it was really fun to educate people about the whole process,” Beaulieu said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into making coffee.”
Beaulieu is an engineering major at Baylor and hopes to attend UC Davis for graduate school to receive a Master’s degree in Coffee Science. UC Davis is currently opening a Coffee Center on campus for students to specialize in the chemistry and engineering elements that go into specialty coffee making.
“Modeled closely on UC Davis’s existing world-class graduate programs in wine and beer science, the Master’s degree in Coffee Science will be a one to two year program that provides advanced, multidisciplinary education focused specifically on coffee,” the UC Davis Coffee Center website says. “The Master’s degree in Coffee Science will provide a sorely needed talent pipeline for the coffee industry, and provide crucial focused training for students to accelerate their careers.”
As for Beaulieu’s dream job? She said she would love to own a coffee shop that roasts its own coffee or to work behind the scenes by using her engineering background to promote growth in the coffee industry.
“I either want to focus on the bean chemistry and how that changes throughout the roast to make it better, or the aspects that go into roasting coffee and the electrical and mechanical side of it,” Beaulieu said.
Beaulieu also spreads her love of coffee by working at Common Grounds and running her own coffee-themed Instagram, @Coffeewithchrissyb. She uses her account to feature different coffee shops that she visits and to share interesting coffee facts that she learned at her internship.
“I created it because I love exploring new coffee shops — it’s a good excuse to go around and try new places,” Beaulieu said. “Ever since I came back from the farm, I thought it would be fun to post interesting facts about coffee that you wouldn’t normally know.”
Cumming, Ga., sophomore Morgan Halverson is Beaulieu’s roommate, and she loves drinking coffee with her. Beaulieu brought back cold brew coffee from the farm that she interned at, and the two steep the cold brew and add in vanilla shots nearly every morning.
“I drink coffee with Christina almost every day — she literally makes the best cold brew I’ve ever had,” Halverson said. “Christina has definitely made me enjoy and appreciate coffee more. She knows so much about coffee — any question I have she can answer in vivid detail because she has this unlimited storage of knowledge.”
Halverson is proud of how Beaulieu has used her passion for coffee to teach and inspire others, and she has full confidence that Beaulieu will excel in whatever path she takes in the future.
“Honestly the world is her oyster when it comes to what she could do with her passion for coffee — she’s insanely smart and talented,” Halverson said. “I truly believe she can change the world one coffee drink at a time.”