At last a machine with good taste -- for espresso

Feb 11, 2008

Can a machine taste coffee? The question has plagued scientists studying the caffeinated beverage for decades. Fortunately, researchers in Switzerland can now answer with a resounding “yes.” The study on their coffee-tasting machine is scheduled for the March 1 issue of ACS’ Analytical Chemistry.

For the food industry, “electronic tasters” like these could prove useful as quality control devices to monitor food production and processing.

Christian Lindinger and colleagues at Nestlé Research pointed out that coffee scientists have long been searching for instrumental approaches to complement and eventually replace human sensory profiling. However, the multisensory experience from drinking a cup of coffee makes it a particular challenge for flavor scientists trying to replicate these sensations on a machine. More than 1,000 substances may contribute to the complex aroma of coffee.

The new tasting machine assessed the taste and aromatic qualities of espresso coffee nearly as accurately as a panel of trained human espresso tasters, the study reported. It analyzed gases released by a heated espresso sample, then transformed the most pertinent chemical information into taste qualities like roasted, flowery, woody, toffee and acidity. “This work represents significant progress in terms of correlation of sensory with instrumental results exemplified on coffee,” state the authors.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Water leads to chemical that gunks up biofuels production

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The science behind the perfect coffee

Jun 05, 2014

(Phys.org) —A chemist at the University of Bath has teamed up with the UK Barista Champion to find the best type of water for making coffee. The pair are heading to the World Barista Championships in Italy ...

Adding precision to plastics testing

Sep 02, 2013

Plastics play an important role in many consumer items. But testing precisely how much load these plastic parts can bear has up to now been a very complicated task. Now, a new instrument achieves simpler ...

Topsy-turvy wine weather makes grape sorters shine

Oct 25, 2011

A topsy-turvy growing season, which zigzagged from drought to hail to heat wave, produced a distressingly mixed crop in Bordeaux this year -- but gave optical grape sorters a chance to shine.

Recommended for you

Celebrating 100 years of crystallography

13 hours ago

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of a revolutionary technique that underpins much of modern science, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) magazine last week released a special edition on X-ray crystallography—its past, ...

Treating pain by blocking the 'chili-pepper receptor'

14 hours ago

Biting into a chili pepper causes a burning spiciness that is irresistible to some, but intolerable to others. Scientists exploring the chili pepper's effect are using their findings to develop a new drug ...

Testing the shelf-life of nuclear reactors

14 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls and TerraPower based in Bellevue, Washington, have demonstrated the power of high-energy beams of ...

User comments : 0