There's Finally A Scientific Explanation To Why Coffee Smells So Good

Everyone has a vice they cannot (or will not) give up.

Mine -- well, one of mine -- is coffee (to be honest, it passed the point of “vice” when I was about 13; my relationship with coffee is more along the lines of full-blown addiction).

The caffeine is what keeps me hooked on the brew, but the smell is what I enjoy most.

There's something so intoxicating about the warm, familiar aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. (And that's not just my opinion: Studies on rats show the smell of coffee can trigger the production of stress-relieving hormones.)

Turns out, there's a scientific explanation for why it smells so good: It has to do with the compounds in the drink, specifically, the volatile compounds.

The folks over at Compound Interest break it down for us in the handy chart below.

Caffeine, they explain, has no aroma. In fact, most of the molecules present in coffee are scent-free, as are the beans in their natural form.

However, once the beans are roasted, a reaction occurs between the bean's proteins and sugars, which emits a specific scent.

The heat breaks down other compounds in the bean, and once brewed, these compounds are extracted from the beans and release another scent.

Together, these reactions and their products create the warm, smooth fragrance we associate with a good pot of joe.

So while this information may be useless in your attempt to cut back on that five-cup-a-day habit, at least now you know some more about your favorite anytime drink.


Citations: The Chemical Compounds Behind The Aroma Of Coffee (Compound Interest)