ntroduction In the last years, consumers increased the demand for high-quality and healthy beverages, including coffee. To date, among the techniques potentially available to determine the overall quality of coffee beverages, metabolomics is emerging as a valuable tool. Objective In this study, 47 ground coffee samples were selected during the 2018 Edition of the “International coffee tasting” (ICT) in order to provide discrimination based on both chemical and sensory profiles. In particular, 20 samples received a gold medal (“high quality” group), while lower sensory scores characterized 27 samples (without medal). Methods Untargeted metabolomics based on ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole-time-of-flight (UHPLC-QTOF) and head space-gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry platforms followed by multivariate statistical approaches (i.e., both supervised and unsupervised) were used to provide new insight into the searching of potential markers of sensory quality. Results Several compounds were identified, including polyphenols, alkaloids, diazines, and Maillard reaction products. Also, the headspace/GC-MS highlighted the most important volatile compounds. Polyphenols were scarcely correlated to the sensory parameters, whilst the OPLS-DA models built using typical coffee metabolites and volatile/Maillard compounds possessed prediction values > 0.7. The “high quality” group showed specific metabolomic signatures, thus corroborating the results from the sensory analysis. Overall, methyl pentanoate (ROC value = 0.78), 2-furfurylthiol (ROC value = 0.75), and L-Homoserine (ROC value = 0.74) established the higher number of significant (p < 0.05) correlations with the sensory parameters. Conclusion Although ad-hoc studies are advisable to further confirm the proposed markers, this study demonstrates the suitability of untargeted metabolomics for evaluating coffee quality and the potential correlations with the sensory attributes.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-12
Numero di pagine12
RivistaCurrent Metabolomics
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • ground coffee
  • metabolomics


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