Identification of Compounds that Negatively Impact Coffee Flavor Quality Using Untargeted Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry Analysis

Untargeted liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) flavoromics analysis was carried out on 18 coffee brews ranging in Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) cup scores. Six compounds highly predictive of low cup score were isolated from coffee using multidimensional preparative LC/MS and further evaluated by sensory recombination analysis with certified SCA quality graders. A significant decrease in cup score was demonstrated with four of the six compounds when added to a specialty coffee brew. High-resolution mass spectrometry and mono- and bidimensional nuclear magnetic resonance experiments were used to successfully elucidate four of the structures as 16α,17-dihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-oic acid (compound 1), its diglycosidic compound 16α,17-dihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-diglycoside (compound 2), 16α,17,18-trihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-oic acid (compound 5), and 16α-hydroxy-17-ent-kauren-19-oic acid (compound 6). All four ent-kaurane diterpene compounds were endogenous to green coffee beans, providing direct chemical indicators of low-quality coffee.