What is the aroma of coffee? Is aroma and flavour the same? Aroma is one of the primary coffee qualities denoting a coffee's flavour along with body, acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and aftertaste. A coffee's aroma is one of the main categories used by professional coffee tasters (cuppers) to judge the quality of a coffee.
At it's most basic, aroma is the smell of coffee while flavour is the taste of coffee. The aroma is responsible for many of the flavour attributes not directly perceived by the tongue (which are sweet, salt, bitter, sour and umami). There are over 800 known aromatics in coffee with new ones being discovered regularly thanks to advances in testing equipment.
Because aroma is the release of flavourful compounds from coffee through the air, fresh coffee will have a much stronger aroma than older, stale coffee (also why it tastes better!). The level of roasting impacts aroma profiles.
Generally, as a roast gets darker, more of the compounds in coffee are changed and become detectable, meaning the aroma becomes stronger.
Coffee aroma descriptors can include flowery, nutty, smoky, herby, while taste descriptors include acidity, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness and sourness.
Try it out, and Happy New Year!
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