Smell your espresso

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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Postby malachi » Jan 14, 2006, 5:48 pm

I'm shocked by how few people actively smell their espresso. Your sense of smell accounts for a huge percentage of your experience of flavour. Instead of just gulping down that shot, swirl it right under your nose - you can even "cup" your demi in your hand to trap aromatics while doing this. I find it helps a bit to close your eyes while sampling the aroma - it allows for better focusing. Take your time, think about what you smell. Exhale through your nose to focus your experience of the aroma of the coffee. Then drink some of the espresso and swirl and smell again.

You'll be amazed at how much you will learn about your espresso.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Postby HB » Feb 16, 2006, 11:41 pm

This morning I was preparing a new espresso blend for the first time. Leaning over the grinder with the hopper cover removed, I took in the wonderful aroma of freshly ground coffee. A delicate mix of floral and earthy scents. It perhaps sounds a little weird, but next time you're making espresso, try it. Moments later, my perception of the same aroma was enhanced in the espresso itself.
Dan Kehn

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Postby another_jim » Feb 17, 2006, 12:52 am

That's why I keep pushing the envelope with WPs in my own blending; they smell better.

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Postby King Seven » Feb 17, 2006, 6:50 am

It's my favourite part of the whole process, I probably enjoy it more than drinking the coffee.

Stepping back from the machine, nose buried in the cup, failing miserably to find the words I want to express what I am enjoying.

Far more addictive to me than caffeine.

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Postby kbuzbee » Feb 17, 2006, 10:59 am

Chris, you are so right. The aroma off a fresh cup is fully 1/2 the experience. I can tell 60% of the time by the look of a shot whether it is a really good one or not... but smell is at least 90% accurate. I always take the time to appreciate the aromas.

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Postby NewEnglandCliff » Feb 17, 2006, 12:04 pm

I'll give another endorsement for breathing in the aromas. It's a huge facet of enjoyment, so much so for me that I do it with practically every sip of whatever I'm drinking. The aromas are often different and more appetizing than the flavors. Could be getting compulsive when I find myself doing it with water.
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Postby mikep » Feb 17, 2006, 12:33 pm

Be careful! I have heard stories of painful accidental crema-snorting. (seriously)

I have also heard that 'properly' drinking espresso involves holding a mouthful while exhaling through your nose to allow aromas to be relased from the crema bubbles an introduced to your nasal cavity. I could never seem to get the hang of this.

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Postby cannonfodder » Feb 17, 2006, 4:06 pm

I like the first whiffs from a new roast. I hold the bag, close my eyes, open the zip top and breathe in the first bit of aroma. It tells me a lot about what I will get in the cup from the roast. Think of it as the roasters version of breaking the crust on a cupping sample.
Dave Stephens

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