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Author Topic: Apropos fishy cucumbers..........  (Read 1391 times)

Offline antonymous

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Apropos fishy cucumbers..........
« on: 30 October, 2011, 10:04:42 AM »
.............this morning whilst waiting for the first pot of coffee to filter  through ( invariably the first act of the day)  the kitchen began to smell of fish!
I'm using a very nice blend of Sumatran Mandheling Fairtrade coffee , and have been for several months now. Why does my place now smell like Grimsby docks?
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Offline AtMyWitzEnd

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Re: Apropos fishy cucumbers..........
« Reply #1 on: 30 October, 2011, 02:56:10 PM »
I think there are two separate but related issues involved here. First, one of the chemical that gives fish a “fishy” smell is trimethylamine. This has the molecular formula C3H9N which has several isomers, including Ethylmethylamine (EMA). This is commonly found in the oils in coffee beans.

The other factor is the quality of the coffee you are brewing. Normally, when coffee is vacuum packed, which includes canned coffee and those foil bags, all the aroma is sucked out of the coffee. This coffee smell is extracted, concentrated and then injected back into the coffee. Thereby they manipulate the smell and remove any considered undesirable such as fishy smells.

Dark roast coffee, such as you are using, are high in EMA. If the coffee is not highly processed (possibly suggested by “Fair Trade”) such as being fresh packed or nitrogen flushed, it will have retained the natural odour. Some coffee wholesalers actually claim in their listings for products such as Dark Roast Sumatra that smelling of fish when you grind it is an indication of quality.

Ground coffee will put off a higher aroma because there are more surfaces of the coffee exposed to give off aroma and many people complain that the coffee smells of fish when ground, rather than when brewed.

In poor quality coffee, the opposite can be true. If the oil in the coffee becomes slightly rancid, it will smell fishy when brewed. This can be just because air is allowed into the coffee after it is opened so good storage is essential … seal foil packages well and fold over to eliminate air inside or, as many serious coffee drinkers do, keep the beans frozen. Often, the beans are distributed into single serving bags and frozen when the original package is opened.

Possibly, your coffee maker needs a good clean out as you have a build-up of oils inside. In extreme cases, a fishy smell can be picked-up from the glue used to seal the packaging.