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Coffee Tips

What Does Coffee Smell Like?

The smell of coffee, also you can call it the aroma of the coffee. The aroma is responsible for many attributes that cannot be sensed by the tongue.

The tongue can taste flavors like Sweet, umami, sour, bitter, and salt. Currently, over 800 aromatics are known in coffee, with more being found regularly due to the rapid growth of testing technology.

woman smelling her morning cup of coffee.

The smell of coffee contains flavors and components of the drink that travel through the air. It is obvious, that fresh coffee will have an intense aroma compared to old pale coffee.

A more refreshing smell means more taste. So, dark roasted coffee beans have more compounds that change and are easily detectable, making the aroma stronger.

Roasting for darker levels can eliminate compounds that make coffee’s characteristics unique & high-end and reduces the benefits of paying more for quality coffee.


What Is Coffee Aroma Like?

The taste can be light, fruity, or even burnt, depending on how the coffee is roasted. Mostly brew smell caramelized and nutty. But a stale or old brew will give you cardboard or musty vibes from its smell.


Best Coffee Smell

Coffee that is freshly roasted will produce the best smell. Flavors quickly start to fade after the roasting process. You can understand this by smelling your coffee, more smell means quality and refreshing cup of coffee. If you are craving for fresh coffee smell then you’ll have to change the habit of purchasing coffee from a local store. Instead, buy them from a coffee roaster. Make sure to get a sealed bag (with a one-way valve) to keep your coffee fresh for a longer time. And if you have a grinder at home, buy whole beans and grind them at home for better results.

But it is completely on you whether you want a strong aroma from your coffee, or you can just buy a cheap one like Brazilian or Colombian coffee to have an intense smell.


Primary Quality

The smell or aroma of coffee is a primer quality of the drink as it can tell the flavor, aftertaste, bitterness, sweetness, and acidity. Many professional testers test coffee by smelling the beverage to understand the quality of the brew.


Describing Coffee Aroma

Describing the smell is not that easy for example, it smells smoky, nutty, herbal, fruity, or complex. Floral notes in aroma can be sensed in fine coffees, when the crust of grounds is broken during coffee cupping (a practice of smelling and tasting coffee). Yemen mocha coffee is popular for its floral aroma.

More coffees with a fresh floral aroma are Colombian and Finer Kona coffee. To preserve and enhance the coffee floral smell pay attention to factors like roasting and freshness.


Coffee Aroma Relation to Taste and Acidity

The smell of brew also represents coffee’s acidic and taste factors. For instance, if your coffee has quality and richness in flavor, then the aroma will be rich, and if it smells acidic then the coffee is acidic.

Some subtle flavors like fleeting or high notes could be present in the aroma. The aroma can have an effect on flavor and characteristics of taste, which could be subtle too.


Volatile Component of Coffee

The smell can range from fruity to herbal and is sensed with the help of coffee’s volatile components (gasses and vapors coming out of the cup). These components go straight into our nose from the hot coffee and meet the nasal membrane.

When coffee’s aromatic compounds are detected internally while swallowing the coffee and aroma drifting through nasal passage is called retronasal. Retronasal plays a crucial part in coffee.


Bouquet of Coffee

The aroma is also called the bouquet or even nose. It is clear enough to recognize from coffee fragrance, in coffee terms, it is referred to the smell coming from volatile components (gas & vapors), which comes from the coffee bean during the grinding process. These aromatic compounds are inhaled by our nose and drifted up the nasal membrane.


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