The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto is launching a new research project with Cut Coffee Inc. to connect the science of chemistry with the art of coffee roasting.

A company dedicated to sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee, Cut Coffee’s unique analytical approach produces exceptional and delicious flavours in the cup. Consistently rated among the best coffee roasters in Toronto, their coffee beans are available throughout Toronto in cafes like Sam James Coffee Bar and numerous coffee shops across Canada.

Using chemistry expertise and specialized equipment at the University of Toronto, the research project will look at how the roasting process impacts the molecular profile of Cut Coffee’s products and how that influences the final taste.

The project, supported by NSERC Engage and OCE VIP1 grant programs, will be completed through collaboration between Impact Centre in-house scientists, the lab of Prof. Aaron Wheeler in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, and Head Roaster Dr. Lee Knuttila at Cut Coffee.

“High quality food and beverage products are increasingly turning to science to better understand their products,” said Dr. Venkat Venkataramanan, director of scientific operations at the Impact Centre. “With the chemistry expertise within the Impact Centre and at the University of Toronto, we can answer questions of how the Cut Coffee roasting process effects the molecular profile, and how that influences flavor.”

“When Sam James started Cut Coffee in 2013, we used pen and paper to record and plan roasts. We have since upgraded to digital data logging, multiple temperature probes and even air pressure meters,” explains Dr. Lee Knuttila, Head Roaster and Green Buyer at Cut Coffee. “Working with the incredible team at the University of Toronto represents the next big step for us, as we move from the question, ‘how to roast?’ to the much bigger, ‘why does roasting this way work?’”

The Impact Centre is dedicated to solving technical challenges for innovative businesses by doing applied research that links to fundamental science. You can learn more about other projects and how we work by visiting