• coffee brews;
  • volatile aroma compounds;
  • liquid–vapour partition coefficients;
  • sugars

The effect of sugars (sucrose, lactose, glucose, fructose, 10%w/v) on the liquid–vapour partition of selected volatile compounds of coffee beverages has been investigated in espresso coffee and ready-to-drink (RTD) canned coffee prepared and obtained by using the same Arabica roasted coffee beans blend. Aroma composition of coffee beverages has been preliminary investigated by headspace-gas chromatography (HS-GC) and solid phase microextraction-HS-GC-mass spectrometry to characterize the volatile pattern of the systems and to evaluate the effects of sugars on the aroma release/retention. Then, the liquid–vapour partition coefficient (k) of 4 selected key aroma compounds (diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, ethylpyrazine, hexanal) was determined in water, sugars solutions as well as RTD coffee brews added with the same sugars (10%w/v).

Sugars added in coffee beverages affected the release of the volatiles and thus its aroma profile with differences due to the type of added sugar and coffee brew type.

The k values of the selected volatile compounds resulted different depending on the model system composition (water, coffee brew) and sugar type added. In particular, melanoidins as well as other non-volatile components (lipids, acids, carbohydrates) in the RTD coffee brews could be implied in the change of k of the volatile compounds in respect to that observed in water.

The effects of the sugar type on the release/retention of the four key coffee aroma compounds were partly explained in terms of ‘salting out’ especially for the more polar volatile compounds and in the sucrose-added model systems. The change of chemical and physico-chemical properties of the water and brews induced by the sugars as well as the occurrence of interactions between volatile compounds and non-volatile components may be implied in the reduction of the vapour partition of the aroma compounds. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.