For many of us a morning coffee has become such an important part of our daily ritual that it feels impossible to get on with our day without it. According to a recent study though, it’s not just the first sip that can perk you up, but you could get some of the benefits just by smelling it! So, is there some complex chemistry going on or is it purely psychological?
What the research shows
Research led by the Stevens School of Business in New Jersey, supported by staff at Temple University and Branch College have carried out 2 studies to look at whether the scent of coffee alone, without any caffeine, has any influence on cognitive performance.
The first study took a group of 100 undergraduate business students and divided them into 2 groups, both of whom were given a 10 question algebra test in a computer lab setting. One of the groups took the test with an ambient coffee-like scent in the room, and for the other group the room was unscented. The results showed significantly higher scores from participants who took the test in the coffee-smelling room.
As a follow up the team also surveyed a separate 200 people on their beliefs about various scents, and whether smelling coffee would make them feel more energetic compared to a flower scent, or no scent at all. This survey also found a strong link between the scent of coffee and the perceived ability to perform.
As there hasn’t been a causal link identified it could simply be that there’s a placebo effect associated with the smell of coffee, but even so the research clearly shows that it works!
How else does smell impact your coffee?
As well as helping to give you a much needed energy boost, the smell of your coffee also plays a major factor on both the taste, and the overall experience of enjoying your brew.
There’s a reason why you may have seen expert baristas carefully smelling a coffee before tasting it, this is because many of the delicate tasting notes can be identified from the smell alone. Much like with fine wines and spirits, the scent makes up more of the overall flavour than the taste, with some experts believing it to be responsible for approximately 80% of what you’re tasting.
Visiting a coffee shop isn’t just about the beverage though, and atmosphere can play a huge role in the overall experience. Your experience of a coffee shop starts when you walk in the door, before you even get to the counter you will be smelling the freshly ground coffee and getting a feel for how comfortable the environment is. While this might not be something everyone is even conscious of, it definitely plays a role in how likely a customer is to return.
We don’t recommend you start telling customers to try just sniffing their americanos, however it’s clear that smell can have a big impact on the coffee drinking experience. The best way to makes sure your drinks are smelling and tasting perfect is to use reliable equipment that you trust to give you the best beverage possible. WMF coffee machines use state of the art automation technology to perfectly grind and tamp every espresso shot, giving you a great tasting drink every single time.
The WMF 5000 S+ also uses our advanced Dynamic Coffee Assist system, which will automatically make adjustments to the grinding degree and coffee quantity to give the most consistently high quality espresso-based drinks possible.
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