Why Does Coffee Sometimes Have a Bad Aroma?

Bad Coffee Aromas

Coffee is a popular drink all over the world. It has many different flavors and styles, but sometimes it can have an unpleasant aroma. Coffee has been reported to sometimes smell like poop, cat pee, skunk or ammonia?

That smell is just your coffee’s flavor coming out in full force. Here are some things you can do to improve the odor of your coffee so that it doesn’t end up smelling like something else entirely!

Why Does Coffee Smell Like Poop?

If coffee sometimes smells like poop, then this is likely due to the over-roasted beans. Coffee roasted too long will produce a strong aroma and an oily liquid with a thicker consistency that can taste bitter or burnt. This flavor in particular won’t be good for anyone drinking it because you’ll end up smelling like poop!

The science behind coffee having the aroma of poop is that coffee grounds contain potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. Coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures in order to activate the natural oils of the bean to create a rich aroma that is characteristic of each type of roast. The darker roasts have more oily natural oils which produce an unpleasant flavor when burnt.

What you can do to ensure that your coffee does not have this strong flavor is to purchase coffee that was roasted less. You can get a lighter roast, or buy from brands that provide light roasts in their blends (i.e., Starbucks’ “Blonde Roast”).

Why Does Coffee Smell Like Cat Pee?

Another bad coffee aroma is that of cat pee. This is the result of a chemical reaction between coffee beans and oxygen in the air. When organic material, such as coffee grounds or even fruits, are stored in an open container for too long without any sort of protection from exposure to air then oxidative reactions occur over time with natural substances like phenols (a type of antioxidant).

This is what generally causes coffee beans to have a sour, high-acid taste and unpleasant aroma. This is what has given this type of coffee the nickname “Coffee Cat Pee”.

A few things you can do to reduce the likelihood that your coffee will smell like cat pee:

-Store in an airtight container.

-Make sure that coffee grounds are completely dry before storing.

-Take the coffee out of its container and let it air for a few minutes before brewing.

Why Does Coffee Smell Like Skunk?

The next aroma on the rogues’ gallery list is coffee smelling like skunk.

Coffee beans can actually end up having this smell because they are degraded by heat, light, and moisture. This means that the coffee has been roasted poorly or it’s not stored properly after roasting when it was shipped to you.

If your storage system is good enough then this should be a rare occurrence but it is still possible.

The chemicals that make up the skunk smell are called thiols and they’re released when the coffee beans are heated. The only way to remove this aroma is by throwing the bad coffee beans out and buying new coffee beans.

Why Does Coffee Smell Like Ammonia?

Ammonia is very potent and it can be a sign of coffee that has been stored wrong. This is usually caused by moisture getting into the coffee beans and causing an ammonia-like smell to develop.

Just like in previous examples, fixing this problem isn’t too difficult, all you need to do is transfer the coffee from its bad storage system straight on over to a better one.

The chemicals in ammonia are very sensitive to the air and a coffee maker which is moist or wet will also produce this kind of smell, so make sure your coffee machine isn’t creating that ‘wet’ aroma by following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it out from time to time.

Is Bad Coffee Aroma a Symptom of Covid 19?

On a more serious note about bad coffee aroma. Loss of taste or smell can be a symptom of Covid 19 so if you’ve been noticing a bad coffee aroma, it might be worth taking a Covid test to rule it out.

Also, if you have had Covid 19, many people have complained about bad coffee aromas and a loss in their sense of smell. Various foods and drinks have a metallic or bad after taste as well. The scientific name for this phenomenon is called dysgeusia.

How To Keep Coffee Beans Fresh

As we have demonstrated bad coffee smells are mainly due to poor storage. To keep your coffee beans fresh, store them in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight.

There are many great airtight coffee bean containers available to buy but the top 3 for me are these:

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How Should Coffee Smell?

So we have discussed how coffee can sometimes have a bad aroma. More often coffee has a wonderful aroma. The best way to describe it is, it should be strong but not too overwhelming where you can taste it with your mouth as well as your nose.

Coffee is roasted at a high temperature and that process creates aromatic oils, some pleasant smells as well as less desirable aromas such as fruity, corn chip-like flavors which are sometimes described by tasters as woody, musty or burnt popcorn aroma notes.

Of course, different coffee beans will produce different aromas and the roasting of the beans will also impact the taste and smell.

The brewing process, too, will alter flavor notes. For example, with French press coffee, you get a more fuller-bodied cup while drip coffees can result in coffees that are brighter because they’re not being filtered as much.

We hope this article has helped answer your questions on how should coffee smell!