One of many things I love about coffee is the fact that, the flavors of coffee that can be discerned changes as it cools. So when we are served a pour over or a syphon, we wait until its quite cool. However, recently I’ve been wondering about our nose, I find the nose really interesting, because as nose contributes significant amount to what we taste; most of the time, what we smell will taste like it. For example when we drink a cup of coffee with our nose blocked, all we can feel in our mouth is the body of the coffee, not the flavor, so no nose, no taste.
So we know that coffee tastes better when its cool, but then when can we smell coffee better?
I decided to have an experiment- to see the difference when our nose is at different temperature, and how it affects how we smell things.
This is what I did:
1. Brew syphon of Costa Rican Santa Lucia from Square Mile, and separate them into 2 tumbler glass( The reason I chose the tumbler glass is because I was able to discern more flavors of coffee, more than latte glass or porcelain cups.)
2. Just as they are decanted into 2 glasses, I go out side and start to inhale the cold air (It was 3 degrees celcius) for 1 minute so the temperature of the nose gets lower.
3. I come back in and straight away, swirl and smell one of the tumbler glass, then taste.
4. Then drink a glass of sparkling water, inhale the warm air indside(set for 27 degrees celcisus) for another minute.
5. Quickly smell the remaining tumbler and taste.
Because the experiment seemed not fair, in a sense that; I had to leave another tumbler 1 minute longer, I repeated the experiment but then did it other way round (Inhaling warm air first then the cold one).
The result was quite surprising, for me anyway,that when my nose temperature was lower, the aroma was much more defined and vivid than the aroma I could discern when my nose was warmer. I felt that, when I was inhaling at warmer condition, aroma felt muddy and as if something have diluted the aroma.
This started to make me think how roasters roast beans in their roastry, if they have a set temperature when they roast or cup the coffee, as one might roast the coffee and cup them in a quite humid, warm environment, they might not pick up the aroma they sought after.
Furthermore, how this affects baristas who lives in hot and humid countries, how their nose is adapted to smell in those conditions, and if they will notice the difference when smelling between summer and winter- if their country have high temp fluctuation at summer and winter.
Feedback would be nice to see if my nose was completely wrong and I should go and check in the hospital, or if any of you guys experienced same things as me!
My educated guess will be that, humdity or warmer air contains less oxygen but more particles( like dust) which blocks the receptors in the nose, which distrups our smell.
Who nose :) ?