Scenting Roasted Coffee
In this experiment, samples of roasted coffee were scented with different spices, brewed, iced, and assessed for aroma.
There is contention among industry professionals as to how much aroma is absorbed by coffee after it is roasted. Additionally at the 2018 America's best cold brew competition in Baltimore, one of the best performing competitors used a coffee scenting procedure that created an iced coffee with potent floral and herbal aromas.
Given that we were using a scenting procedure similar to what we understood the procedure to be of a company that scored well at America’s best cold brew, and using a high ratio of scenting material to coffee, our hypothesis was that our iced coffees would have a strong flavor contributed by the scenting material.
100 grams samples of roasted coffee blend well past its degassing (over 7 days old) were sealed in airtight 8oz bags with a one-way valve.
In sample A. 2 3” cinnamon sticks were added
In sample B 7 grams of loose peppermint in a loose tea T-sac was added
In sample C 7 grams of whole lavender flower in a loose tea T-sac was added
Samples were held sealed at room temperature for 7 days.
Samples were then brewed hot at 50g / Liter water for 3 minutes then poured over ice
Samples were then blindly tasted and notes taken
Results and Discussion
The 2 tasters did not perceive any added flavors in the iced coffee and could not reliably even assess which coffee was scented with which material. Perhaps coffee can only be scented while it is degassing. Perhaps 7 days is not long enough to scent. However if significantly more than 7 days are need to scent a coffee than coffee freshness issues will impact the final cup.
Our research provided strong evidence disproving our hypothesis. We conclude that scenting coffee post degassing provides negligible flavor. An experiment using coffee still degassing, longer scenting times, and higher scenting material masses would be interesting to see.