Drip, espresso, americano, latte… Let your genetics dictate your preference!

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Coffee, one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world - sometimes more so than water!

One can find a very broad range of characteristics in coffee. From earthy tones to nutty flavors, sweet fruit, to floral and tea-like aromatics, there is a wide and complicated spectrum of taste experiences to be had through our beloved beverage. But what determines which of these characteristics will be most pleasurable to your taste buds and, moreover, can coffee be customized to your genetic code? Harry Koundakjian, founder of Beverage Genetics, is on a quest to help you find the coffee that is right for you, one that is based on your genetics.

With Beverage Genetics, Harry developed a process for testing the chemical properties of brewed coffee that helps us understand the concentration of caffeine and recommends the best coffee. When this information is paired with the consumer's survey and genetic data, Beverage Genetics makes the match, much to the delight of the coffee consumer. These developments are a first within the coffee community and were made possible thanks to the world-class research facilities at uOttawa.

Harry Koundakjian holding an espresso cup
Harry Koundakjian - Honours BSc 2006: Department of Biology

Harry’s studies in the Department of Biology at uOttawa were pivotal to his interest and continued work in the area of molecular biology and genetics. His studies at uOttawa helped him gain a deeper understanding of how the scientific community operates, think critically, and communicates complex ideas. Thanks to the connections he forged at the uOttawa Core Molecular Biology and Genomics Laboratory (CMBGL) during those years, this user facility was a logical partner for his company to work with. The CMBGL was able to assist Beverage Genetics in developing a protocol to test the genetics of a coffee consumer and then develop a report on their genetics in order to predict coffee preferences. In the future, he plans to deploy the same matching process while one waits in a cafe! Throughout his entrepreneurship journey, Harry has come to realize that the process of learning and researching any subject through the scientific lens, is precious. The discipline, organization of thought, and resulting discussion is critical to transform any beautiful idea into reality. All effort put into understanding, communicating, and questioning the scientific process pays back dividends. Harry says “Participating and contributing to the process of scientific development is an honour and a privilege that yields valuable insights for solving a range of problems from curing diseases - to preventing an unsavory response to your morning coffee.”

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