Love The Smell Of Coffee? Heres Why... - The Emporium Barber

Love The Smell Of Coffee? Heres Why...

Love the smell of coffee? Did you know that roasted coffee owes its signature scent to the same reaction that causes other roasted foods to smell great? It's called the Maillard Reaction.


It happens in all foods with that delicious roasted aroma and brown discoloration. Steaks, bread, caramelised sugar, toasted marshmallows, and yes… coffee.

This is a key element coffee roasters consider when roasting green coffee beans. Every bean has different characteristics and requires different roasting variables. It can mean the difference between a great cup of aromatic perfection, and a sour, burnt, nauseating brew.

What Is It and why is it important?

The Maillard reaction uses heat to combine amino acids (protein building blocks) and sugars. The resulting compound is potently aromatic (has a fragrance). The best part about this reaction is that there are thousands of different combinations possible, each having their own aroma.

When it comes to coffee roasting, this is a key element to keep under consideration. If the Maillard reaction is optimised for that particular bean, the resulting coffee will be incredible! With poor roasting practices or uneducated roasting parameters, the beans can have a more mediocre taste and fragrance. This is one of the key differences between high-end coffee from a reputable roaster, and cheap, trash coffee sold by people who apparently without the sense of smell weighing them down.

Why Good Roasting Is Key

Roasting coffee is fairly simple, the concept is just like roasting anything else, apply heat, and leave for a few hours until done. The difference is that when you’re roasting coffee professionally, you need to work with the Maillard reaction to make the best product possible.

Coffee beans can have anywhere from 10-13% bound amino acids. These are the amino acids that are locked up in protein forms. Free amino acids on the other hand, which readily react with sugar in the Maillard reaction can vary greatly between different coffee varieties.

The other component, carbohydrates, account for the sugar portion of the reaction. These come in a massive variety of forms inside coffee.

Professional roaster use either high-tech equipment to analyse these components and decide what the best heat and duration is, others have many years of experience and know how to determine these changes throughout the roasting process using only their eyes and nose. No matter which method they choose, optimising the Maillard reaction will always deliver a beautiful, aromatic, and unique cup of coffee.

Ask About Our Subscription Service On Your Next Visit

We value great coffee as much as you do and have recently brought back our coffee subscription service as a result. Enjoy a fresh regular coffee for only $19.95/week. Larger sizes available for an additional $0.50 on order.

Trent Pridmore
Trent Pridmore


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