Sunday February 17, 2019

Smelling Coffee May Boost Your Analytical Skills

It's not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting

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Costa coffee
The study explored that hot coffee has some measurable health benefits, including lower risk of some cancers, diabetes and depression. (IANS)

If you love the fragrance of coffee, there are high chances of better performance in analytical tasks, a new study has found.

According to the researchers, smelling a coffee-like scent — which has no caffeine in it — has an effect similar to that of drinking coffee, suggesting a placebo effect of coffee scent.

The findings also suggested that the scent of coffee alone may help people perform better on the analytical portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) — a computer adaptive test required by many business schools.

“It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting,” said co-author Adriana Madzharov from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the US.

“But they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance,” Madzharov added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, the research team administered a 10-question GMAT algebra test in a computer lab to about 100 undergraduate business students.

coffee
Consuming 4 Cups of Coffee Daily May Help Boost Heart Functions in Elderly as well. Pixabay

The participants were divided into two groups. One group took the test in the presence of an ambient coffee-like scent, while a control group took the same test — but in an unscented room.

The researchers found that the group in the coffee-smelling room scored significantly higher on the test.

The team also designed a follow-up survey — conducted among more than 200 new participants — quizzing them on beliefs about various scents and their perceived effects on human performance.

Also Read: Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The participants believed they would feel more alert and energetic in the presence of a coffee scent, versus a flower scent or no scent; and that exposure to coffee scent would increase their performance on mental tasks.

The results suggest that expectations about performance can be explained by beliefs that coffee scent alone makes people more alert and energetic.

Previous studies have also suggested that coffee may lessen the risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How The Microbes Help You Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said

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A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling. VOA

Ever wondered what makes your coffee taste good? It’s the microbes, finds a study.

The study showed that lactic acid bacteria which help in the longer fermentation of coffee beans results in better taste, contrary to conventional wisdom.

“A cup of coffee is the final product of a complex chain of operations: farming, post-harvest processing, roasting and brewing,” said lead investigator Luc De Vuyst, Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Belgium.

There are several variants of post-harvest processing, among which wet processing and dry processing are the most common. Wet processing — commonly used for Arabica and specialty coffees — is the step that includes fermentation.

The research, published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal, was carried out at an experimental farm in Ecuador. The team found that during extended fermentation, leuconostocs — a genus of lactic acid bacteria used in the fermentation of cabbage to sauerkraut and in sourdough starters — declined in favour of lactobacilli.

coffee
Hot coffee contains more antioxidants than cold coffee. Pixabay

Lactic acid bacteria were already present before fermentation, and these acid tolerant lactobacilli proliferated even more during this process.

“It is challenging to draw a causal link between the microbiota and the volatile compounds in the beans — those compounds that contribute to the coffee’s smell — since many of these compounds can be of microbial, endogenous bean metabolism, or chemical origin,” De Vuyst said.

But De Vuyst noted that the microbial communities, in particular the lactic acid bacteria, showed an impact.

Also Read- Microsoft Chief Feels That Stopping Facial Recognition For Good Work is Cruel

It may have “had a protective effect toward coffee quality during fermentation because of their acidification of the fermenting mass, providing a stable microbial environment and hence preventing growth of undesirable micro-organisms that often lead to off-flavours,” he said.

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said. (IANS)