Coffee fragrance: craving sensitizes the nose

The greater the coffee's appetite, the better we recognize the typical aroma

Coffee drinkers are particularly sensitive to the typical aroma of the drink. © Shaiith / iStock
Read out

Sensitive Noses: Regular coffee drinkers are apparently the better coffee makers. As experiments show, people with a preference for the caffeinated hot drink are particularly sensitive to their typical aroma. Unlike non-coffee drinkers, they can therefore sniff even the smallest amounts of this fragrance. Interestingly, this ability is also related to the subjective desire.

Whether as cappuccino or espresso, scalded or filtered: coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. He especially likes to be consumed as a "wake-up", because his caffeine gets the circulation and brain going. But the smell of coffee alone can already produce amazing effects, as studies reveal. Accordingly, the brain reacts to this scent stimulus similar to a sip of coffee - we even solve math problems easier.

Scientists around Lorenzo Stafford of the University of Portsmouth have now studied another aspect of coffee fragrance. They wanted to know: Can regular coffee drinkers possibly smell that typical aroma better than other people? To find out, they performed different odor tests with a total of 94 subjects - including true coffee addicts, moderate coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.

Sensitive only for a scent

The results showed that regular coffee drinkers were actually able to distinguish the coffee scent better and faster from other scents than participants who consumed little or no coffee. They even managed to sniff even the smallest concentrations of the aroma. Her nose seemed to be particularly sensitive to the scent of coffee - other smells, on the other hand, were perceived by her olfactory organ as well as in the other subjects.

Interestingly, the ability to smell the scent of coffee also depended on the individual's desire, as the team reports. "The greater the desire for the caffeine-containing hot drink, the more sensitive the sense of smell was to the coffee aroma, " reports Stafford. display

Transferable to other addictive substances?

According to the researchers, the results suggest a direct link between addiction and olfaction. They assume that the now observed connection also exists in the case of drugs such as tobacco or cannabis. If further investigations confirm this assumption, this would have two different meanings: First, it could in the future be determined by a simple smell test how dependent one is.

Secondly, according to the scientists, there are also new approaches to therapies. Earlier studies have shown that people can be trained to associate a particular scent with something negative the desire for the scent source can be so mitigated. (Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2019)

Source: University of Portsmouth

- Daniel Albat