The Vanderbilt Institute for Coffee Studies is dedicated
- to promote anthropological, historical, sociological, literary, and economic research into coffee production and consumption
- to disseminate research findings and promote educational exchange and economic development programs with partner nations
- to investigate the health effects of coffee consumption, including the action of various compounds found in coffee and potential therapeutic uses based on the pharmacology of its chemical constituents
The ICS was initially established in 1999 in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a grant from a consortium of coffee-producing countries (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala and a coalition of Central American nations) under the auspices of the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC), the National Coffee Association of the USA, and the All Japan Coffee Association. Subsequently, the work of the ICS has also received support from the International Coffee Organization and the USA corporate sector (NCA, Kraft Foods, Nestle, Sara Lee, Starbucks).
In 2007, in order to expand its mission beyond the biomedical aspects of coffee to also include the historical, literary, sociological, and economic importance of this crop, the second most important commodity in the world behind oil, the ICS moved to the Vanderbilt Center for Latin American Studies.