Commercial coffee roasting is still more of an art than a science, often relying on sensory and physical measurements. There are a number of limitations to this approach, such as the subjectivity of sensory perception, inconsistency of raw materials and inability to track flavor profiles during the roasting process. For many consumer products, consistency plays a large role in customer satisfaction – and coffee is no exception!
In a recently published M.S. thesis by Sangeetha Krishnaswamy, from Ohio State University’s Department of Food Science and Technology, the versatility of using Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) for both on-line and off-line measurements of coffee volatiles was successfully demonstrated. The time and temperature dependence of Volatile Organic Compounds – VOC generation during roasting was determined, and predictive models were developed. A notable successful outcome of the project was that the model was successfully validated, achieving excellent agreement with experimental results. This has promise for online process control and for predicting VOC release for different types of coffee roasters.
For more information, access the full thesis here.