Did you know that the volatile aromatics in the coffee have positive psychological effects? Neither did we! Our June 2008 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry must’ve been sent to our ex’s apartment or something. Here’s the gist: scientists deprived rats of sleep and then after several days  made them smell some ground coffee. They found evidence that smelling coffee mimics the effectiveness of sleeping!

The aim of this study was 2-fold: (i) to demonstrate influences of roasted coffee bean aroma on rat brain functions by using the transcriptomics and proteomics approaches and (ii) to evaluate the impact of roasted coffee bean aroma on stress induced by sleep deprivation.  Among the differentially expressed genes and proteins between the stress and the stress with coffee group, NGFR, trkC, GIR, thiol-specific antioxidant protein, and heat shock 70 kDa protein 5 are known to have antioxidant or antistress functions. In conclusion, the roasted coffee bean aroma changes the mRNA and protein expression levels of the rat brain, providing for the first time clues to the potential antioxidant or stress relaxation activities of the coffee bean aroma.

Despite numerous studies, most of the experiments have focused on nonvolatile compounds of brewed coffee, especially caffeine. Although about 900 volatile compounds with a wide variety of functional groups have been identified in roasted coffee, there are few studies that deal with the beneficial effects of coffee volatiles or aroma. Our group is interested in the effects of roasted coffee bean aroma because of the following three merits. First, coffee is consumed for its pleasing and attractive aroma, which is the result of roasting; a large number of different volatiles are produced by the Maillard reaction, Strecker degradation, and other chemical reactions that occur during roasting.

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