You can barely open your eyes when the wafting aroma hits you from the coffee maker. The brain now knows what it craves to jump-start another day. Approximately 850 volatile compounds have been associated with the flavor of coffee, but only a small proportion of these (approximately 40 volatile compounds) are known to be the main contributors to this eye-opening aroma.
So what flavors can you smell in coffee? The most prevalent are jasmine, red fruit, berries, nuts, oranges, flowers, chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The level at which each occurs varies by bean origin and blend composition.
Wake up and smell the carbonyl:
- If your nose detects ash, soil, wood or a chemical-like flavor, buy fresh beans and clean your equipment.
- Coffee aroma is a mixture of different volatile compounds produced during the roasting process. The main aroma-producing compounds are carbonyl, sulfur alicyclic aromatic benzenoid and heterocyclic compounds.
- Coffee oil, which makes up approximately 10 percent of roasted coffee beans, is most responsible for flavor. Many drinkers find there's a disconnect between aroma and taste.