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New research: Fruity aroma of fermented coffee


With increasing market demand, the coffee industry is increasingly diverse with unique fermentation techniques (carbonic maceration, anaerobic fermentation,…). Many methods have opened the door to new flavors and experiences with aromas similar to fruits. However, some people are concerned about the flavors from this fermentation process that could be created by illegal adulteration. To clarify, scientists conducted a study to determine the causes of the fruity aroma of fermented coffee. Explore with 43 Factory Coffee Roaster!


Overview of research on the fruity aroma of fermented coffee


“Fermented coffee’s fruity aromas demystified” was conducted by a team of researchers from the Coffee Excellence Center at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). The study specifically focused on fermented coffees, soaked with carbon dioxide at the post-harvest processing stage to determine what makes the flavor and aroma of certain specialty coffees stand out on the market tasting table.

Carbonic maceration is a type of anaerobic fermentation. The process usually involves keeping whole, ripe coffee cherries in airtight containers, and infusing carbon dioxide inside for fermentation. When successful, coffee can deliver fruit juice-like flavors and aromas and enhance scores after processing, roasting, and brewing. These new flavors make many people concerned about transparency and safety because it is difficult to associate them with coffee. Therefore, for clarification, scientists conducted an analysis and comparison between fermented coffee and processed coffee. During the study, each type of coffee was brewed using the same method. Next, ZHAW will use a process called gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) to analyze the aroma of all samples. The mixture is put into a gas chromatograph to separate the individual components. Then, these components are taken through a mass spectrometer for specific identification.

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Scientists at ZHAW researched to determine the fruity aroma of fermented coffee


Results of research on fruit aroma in fermented coffee


Using the cupping skills of experts and GC-O, the study concluded that the fruity flavors in fermented coffee are likely caused by six chemical compounds that create aromas. However, scientists have currently only identified three of those compounds: 2-methylpropanal, 3-methylbutanal and ethyl 3-methylbutanoate. Among them, ethyl 3-methylbutanoate is a compound with a very strong fruity smell that stands out in natural carbonic-soaked coffee. The concentration of this substance in carbonic fermented coffee is 125 times higher than in washed processed coffee, resulting in a cup with a more pronounced fruity aroma.

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Three compounds create the fruity flavor of fermented coffee: 2-methylpropanal, 3-methylbutanal and ethyl 3-methylbutanoate


Significance of research on the fruity aroma of fermented coffee


According to experts, the results of research on the fruity aroma of fermented coffee can be clear evidence that the outstanding flavors in fermented coffees are due to chemical compounds formed during the process. Firstly, this helps the new experimentally processed coffees to be vindicated by accusations of being mixed with fruit. Users can have more confidence in new flavors. Thanks to this, the fermented coffee market can grow rapidly and gain more informed perspectives when understanding the nature of the unique flavors of fermented coffee.

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Manufacturers can better understand flavor-forming compounds to develop processing techniques

In addition, through research, manufacturers can have a clearer view of the flavor-forming compounds when conducting fermentation processes. Once they know which specific compounds create certain flavors, producers can process coffee in a more targeted and controlled manner. This makes it possible to produce experimentally processed coffee on a larger scale – potentially allowing producers to add value to coffee. However, the ability to develop the flavor of each variety, type of seed, and method is different. Therefore, we need to understand the potential of each type of coffee, its unique compounds, and flavors to have safe and enjoyable experiences.

For those interested in experiencing the unique flavors of specialty coffee, visit XLIII Coffee and savor the experience!

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