The aroma of coffee is how it smells. It is made up of volatile compounds (vapors and gases) we inhale which are released or agitated during the brewing process. Our roastery team trains their noses to distinguish between different aromas. Aroma is evaluated at multiple points during the tasting process.As you brew your coffee, stop to take notes on the different aromas you smell when:
- the coffee is first ground
- just after water is added to the grinds
- during the coffee brewing process*
*A layer of grinds will float to the top during the brew process. Concentrated volatile compounds are trapped underneath this layer inside the water. This is called the crust. Agitating this layer (breaking the crust) will release those concentrated compounds in one burst of aroma. Breathing in the aroma while breaking the crust can help pinpoint flavors.
At home, this crust will not be evident in all brewing methods, though may be most noticeable while brewing a pourover. Look for little bubbles forming as you add additional water to your pourover. This is the trapped gasses and vapors escaping from the coffee as the pouring water agitates the crust. Briefly pause while brewing and carefully take a whiff!
If your brewing method does not have a noticeable crust, try taking a deep breath of the aromas just as it finishes brewing and the grinds are discarded.
Can you notice any differences in the aromas between the 3 points?