Coffee Just Got Even Better


By Sara Wylie

What if I told you that you only needed to smell coffee in order to start benefitting from it?

Well, it may actually be true!

The smell of coffee is unlike any other scent your body has ever taken in; it’s unique, it’s sweet, yet at the same time, it also has a way of warming you up inside. Whether you drink coffee or not, smelling it is a common pleasure of a good number of people across the country.

What The Study Discovered

Researchers led by Han-Seouk Seo of Seoul National University conducted a study using lab rats to see just how the renowned aroma of coffee generally affects the brain. According to Seo, this study contained some of the first research ever done specifically on the smell of coffee.

“There are few studies that deal with the beneficial effects of coffee aroma,” wrote the authors. “This study is the first effort to elucidate the effects of coffee bean aroma on the sleep deprivation-induced stress in the rat’s brain.”

The researchers did a series of tests using rats that were stressed and sleep deprived, as well as rats that were calm and well-rested. They divided the two clusters of rats so that they had one “stressed” group and one “non-stressed” group that could be exposed to the coffee aroma and one “stressed” group and one “non-stressed” group that could be kept away from it.

After allowing the aroma-exposed rats to breathe in the potent scent, the researchers studied their brain activity while comparing them to the other non-exposed group.

Here’s what they found:

  • The rats who had breathed in the coffee aroma showed different levels of activity in 17 genes in each of their brains.
  • Some levels of brain proteins also changed in ways that could have a calming effect or act as an antioxidant component.

In other words, the smell of the coffee was enough to impact the brains of the sleep deprived rats – and do so positively. The way it affected the rats helped them be more calm, therefore reducing their stress, receive an aromatic source of antioxidant components and helped them become more wakeful in their exhausted state.

What Does This Mean For You?

Smells in general can be very influential on the mind, triggering emotions and memories and even trauma in some cases; it really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that coffee can have such a profound impact as well.

Now that there is evidence out there that shows that the smell of coffee is in fact more than just a pleasant aroma, it does beg the question about what to do with this newfound information…

Why not give it a go?

Just because there is a documented study on this, that doesn’t mean you have to leave all of the work up to the scientists. Their efforts have basically handed you a piece of possibility that could potentially bring a helpful, awakening sensation into your life. It may not be completely life-altering, but it certainly could be quite pleasurable.

Before I even knew about this study, at the call center I used to work at, we had a random little bowl of unground coffee beans out on the workfloor. Every time I passed it, I couldn’t help but pick it up and take several breaths of coffee-scented air to help cheer up my mood a bit. Now, I realize that it might have also helped me stay more awake while sitting for several hours straight at my lovely desk.

For Coffee Drinkers:

If you are a coffee drinker and already consume the numerous benefits of the coffee itself on a regular basis, the next time you brew yourself a cup, take some time before tipping back the cup for a sip to absorb the scent and pay attention to how it affects you.

Also, during the hours where it’s preferable that you don’t have caffeine in your system, try just having a bowl of coffee beans on hand instead to help pull you through to your afternoon spurt or through the remaining hours of the evening before bed.

For Non-Coffee Drinkers:

If you don’t regularly consume coffee, if this study showed you anything, it’s that people can potentially benefit from coffee whether they drink it or not. Try keeping some coffee beans of your own at your work space or in your room and pay attention to the smell and how it affects you throughout your day.

For Coffee Haters:

Yes, there are those of you who really don’t like the smell or taste of coffee, no matter what. And that’s okay! Just keep in mind that when you do come across that familiar, “dreadful” smell, it at least could be doing you some good.

Coffee, How Sweet The Smell

There really is nothing out there quite like coffee, is there? I personally am not a frequent consumer of it, but I do love the smell (especially when mixed with the beautiful smell of books!).

Give this super simple, mind-awakening tactic a try and let us know how it goes for you in the comments below! Do you have any tips about pulling through the slow, tiring days? Feel free to include those as well!


Sources: (1)

Sara Wylie

Sara Wylie

Editorial Intern at
Sara Wylie resides in Utah where she is currently working as an Editorial Intern for while also pursuing a career in writing. She hopes that through her words and fiery passion, she will be able to not only inspire others to seek out and nourish their own passions, but to also help others feel what it’s like to truly be alive.
Sara Wylie


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