Electronic Taster Has A Nose For Coffee

An "electronic taster" for coffee has been developed by Swiss researchers. The food industry regards machines like this as essential for good quality control. Coffee presents a real challenge; roasted coffee aroma is composed of more than 1000 volatile organic compounds.


(From Coffee tasting machine diagram)

The researchers started by having a team of ten trained human taste testers go over a set of samples, and assess the taste and aromatic qualities of the coffee. The espresso coffees selected for this study were blended mainly from different Arabica varieties with some Robusta. They used a Quantitative Descriptive Analysis, consisting of nine aroma and two taste attributes scored on a scale ranging from 0 (not intense) to 10 (very intense) for each product by monadic sensory evaluation. They expressed their judgment in terms like roasted, flowery, woody, and toffee.

The researchers created a device that would heat a sample of espresso and then analyze the gases released by monitoring the headspace over the device. The chemical information was then translated into the taste qualities used by the human judges. The result for each sample was a unique profile (see profiles below). The red colored outline represents the results of the human testing.


(From Coffee tasting machine sample profiles)
-red colored outline represents human test results-

The coffee-tasting machine research will appear in the March 1st issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry.

Science fiction writers have been thinking about machines with a sense of smell for a long time. In his classic 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury created the chilling mechanical hound that guarded the fire station:

Nights when things got dull, which was every night, the men slid down the brass poles, and set the ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound and let loose rats in the fire house area-way. Three seconds later the game was done...
(Read more about Ray Bradbury's mechanical hound)

Another attempt to visualize sniffer robots and assign them a practical task is found in the 1985 movie Runaway by Michael Crichton. In the film, detectives use a four-legged sniffer robot to find and identify trace compounds at a crime scene (see Crichton's sniffer robot from Runaway).

If you have a nose for this sort of news, read on:

From When Machine Tastes Coffee: Instrumental Approach To Predict the Sensory Profile of Espresso Coffee [pdf] via Eurekalert.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/21/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Food ")

Mmm, Tasty Duck From A Petri Dish
'Laboratories in every city had produced synthetic food and meats, grown in large test tubes...' - David H. Keller, 1933.

Eden-ISS, Greenhouse In Antarctica
'With this kind of light we could get the gardens going again." - Barbara Humbly, 1983.

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Chowbotics Salad Robot, Sally
'... gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.