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Anal Chem. 2014 Dec 2;86(23):11696-704. doi: 10.1021/ac502992k. Epub 2014 Nov 17.

Insight into the time-resolved extraction of aroma compounds during espresso coffee preparation: online monitoring by PTR-ToF-MS.

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Zurich University of Applied Sciences , Institute of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland.


Using proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS), we investigated the extraction dynamic of 95 ion traces in real time (time resolution = 1 s) during espresso coffee preparation. Fifty-two of these ions were tentatively identified. This was achieved by online sampling of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in close vicinity to the coffee flow, at the exit of the extraction hose of the espresso machine (single serve capsules). Ten replicates of six different single serve coffee types were extracted to a final weight between 20-120 g, according to the recommended cup size of the respective coffee capsule (Ristretto, Espresso, and Lungo), and analyzed. The results revealed considerable differences in the extraction kinetics between compounds, which led to a fast evolution of the volatile profiles in the extract flow and consequently to an evolution of the final aroma balance in the cup. Besides exploring the time-resolved extraction dynamics of VOCs, the dynamic data also allowed the coffees types (capsules) to be distinguished from one another. Both hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) showed full separation between the coffees types. The methodology developed provides a fast and simple means of studying the extraction dynamics of VOCs and differentiating between different coffee types.

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