For people with parosmia, or distorted sense of smell, the aroma of freshly ground coffee can be as disgusting as burning rubbish.

Now, researchers have discovered the secrets of why certain food and drinks smell (and likely taste) disgusting to people with parosmia.

In new research published in Communications Medicine, a team of scientists have found that certain highly potent odour molecules found in coffee trigger the sense of disgust which is associated with parosmia. Take 2-furanmethanethiol – the most potent aroma molecule that you’ve never heard of before. It is one of those molecules that has been driving people to their wit’s end.

By trapping the aroma of coffee, the team were able to test coffee compounds on volunteers who had parosmia and compare their reaction with those who didn’t. From the hundred or so aroma compounds present in coffee, people with parosmia could point to those responsible for the sense of disgust. Among the 29 volunteers, scientists found…



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