Quantum Quirks: Discover How Subatomic Particles Affect Your Coffee’s Taste

For a lot of us, coffee is fuel. For some, drinking cups of coffee is muscle memory even! Everyone has a preference for coffee and how they like it in different moods or settings. There are several ways to drink coffee based on the ingredients one adds and how strong one likes their coffee, which all determine what the coffee tastes like. However, no matter how one drinks it, coffee drinkers can tell the difference between good and bad coffee. When you break the coffee down, there are different quantum quirks, or chemical compounds, that determine what the coffee tastes like. Discover how subatomic particles like the following affect your coffee’s taste:

Caffeine 

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Caffeine is one of the main compounds found in coffee. This particle affects the coffee’s perceived strength, bitterness, and body. This non-volatile component plays a significant role in how coffee tastes. Caffeine interacts with specific brain receptors that help to provide energy, playing a significant role in why most people enjoy drinking coffee in the mornings. Drinking too much coffee can cause a jittery feeling caused by the caffeine component in the coffee. Caffeine also includes an essential alkaloid called Trigonelline, which plays a vital role in roasted and brewed coffee’s aroma.

Chlorogenic acids

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Chlorogenic acids help determine how bitter the coffee tastes. A combination of different acids, including caffeic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, and quinic acid, forms these acids. Quinic acid is one of the leading causes of the bitterness of the coffee and the level of astringency. During the roasting process of the coffee beans, the chlorogenic acids degrade to increase the taste and perception of the quinic acid. The darker the coffee roast, the more bitter it is likely to taste because of the higher concentration of quinic acid.

Acids 

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Another subatomic particle that plays a significant role in the taste of coffee is the different kinds of organic acids and acidic content. The acidity in the coffee is an important attribute that correlates with the sweetness of coffee. The type and level of acids present in the coffee determine the different nuances that are seen in the flavor of coffee. In addition to the chlorogenic acids in coffee, citric acids also heavily influence the sour notes that are tasted in the coffee. Other acids that influence the taste of coffee include malic, phosphoric, and acetic, which influence the fruit notes in coffee.

Pyrrole and Pyridine

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Compounds like pyrrole and pyridine heavily influence the aroma we get from coffee, which affects the taste of coffee. The level of pyrroles in the coffee affects how musty or burnt the flavor of the coffee is. On the other hand, the pyrazine levels determine the notes of toast or grains that are usually smelled or even tasted in the coffee. The aroma of the coffee has played an essential role in how it eventually tastes. Therefore, smells of burnt, toasted, or grainy coffee also make the coffee taste like it is burnt, toasted, or grainy.

Carbohydrates, Polysaccharides and Sucrose

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The carbohydrates and the polysaccharides present in coffee are volatile compounds that also contribute to the aroma of coffee. Additionally, these subatomic particles combine with glucose and fructose to contribute to coffee’s sweetness. The sucrose in the coffee, along with carbohydrates, creates a reaction that plays a vital role in coffee’s browning or caramelization process. This process heavily influences the overall sweet flavor and aroma of the coffee.

Melanoidins

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The melanoidins are a by-product of the reactions, or the cooking process, caused by the combination of acids and reducing sugars or sucrose. These subatomic particles enhance and develop the flavor of coffee. They are larger molecules that affect the brown color of the coffee beans and add texture to the coffee brews. The higher amount of acids in the coffee during the reaction leads to more melanoidin, which means that the taste of the coffee is more enhanced. The taste of coffee is unique and formed by the combination and reactions of different kinds of subatomic particles. These particles play a significant role in the flavor, aroma, body, sweetness, and acidity of the coffee beans, which all have specific roles in how the coffee beans eventually taste. The non-volatile components present in the coffee heavily affect the flavor and body, while the volatile components affect the aroma of the coffee.

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