What Gives Coffee its Special Properties – The Answer of Scientists

Traditionally, it is believed that sugars and lipids give coffee its characteristic flavor. But scientists in the United States claim to have disproved this stereotype.

For the first time, the United States has identified specific chemical compounds that determine the following properties of coffee: density, astringency, chalky taste, and the formation of a film that creates an aftertaste. This was stated by representatives of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Traditionally, it is believed that sugars and lipids give the coffee drink its characteristic taste. Researchers from Ohio State University decided to go further and determine which compounds are responsible for the tactile sensations that occur after drinking coffee.

“Our team hypothesized that these sensations are caused by specific molecules, which is unique in some ways,” says study leader Dr. Christopher Simons.

In order to identify the compounds that determine the tactile sensations of the drink in the mouth – what experts refer to as the “body of coffee” – the authors first compiled a descriptive analysis panel (similar to the one used to describe wine).

The scientists started with four coffees, which were given different ratings in terms of consistency by evaluators from the American Coffee Association. Eight experienced tasters with developed touch skills described their feelings about each of the varieties.

For the first time, the researchers found that the astringency of coffee is associated with high molecular weight polymeric substances – melanoidin – that are formed in coffee during roasting, a compound from the amino acid group is responsible for the chalky taste, and two other compounds (three- and four-caffeoylquinic acid) are responsible for the aftertaste.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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