Coffee smells great because it contains a complex mixture of volatile compounds that are released when the coffee is brewed. These compounds include organic acids, carbohydrates, and nitrogenous compounds, among others.

One of the primary contributors to the aroma of coffee is a group of compounds called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are responsible for the distinctive “coffee” smell. These compounds are produced during the roasting process when heat causes chemical reactions to occur in the coffee beans.

Some of the key VOCs in coffee include:

Pyrazines: These compounds contribute to the nutty, chocolatey aroma of coffee.
Ketones: These compounds are responsible for the fruity and floral notes in coffee.
Thiols: These compounds produce the roasted, smoky scent of coffee.
In addition to VOCs, coffee also contains other aromatic compounds, such as aldehydes, esters, and terpenes, which contribute to its overall aroma.

Our sense of smell plays a significant role in how we perceive the taste of coffee. When we smell the aroma of coffee, it stimulates our olfactory receptors and enhances our perception of the flavour. That’s why the aroma of coffee can be so enticing and enjoyable, even before we take a sip.

Mmmmmmm, time to grab a coffee break!