The Smell of Coffee: Ultimate Guide to Coffee Fragrances for Men

Ah, the smell of coffee...it's one of those scents that everyone knows but rarely do we think about it. I have Jordan Rosenacker of Atlas Coffee Club to explain the ins and outs of coffee's distinctive aroma and finish up with 5 great coffee scented colognes. 

I think most of us know in a general sense what coffee smells like but don't really break down the scent. How would you describe it?

Ah yes! The aroma of coffee...few things are as refreshing and invigorating in life as the scent of freshly ground coffee. As the blades of the grinder turn beans into powder one can't help but be consumed and delighted with remarkable fragrances of chocolate, nuts, fruit, spice, and flower. 

Studies have shown that there are over 800 aromatic and flavor compounds found in coffee! Which, if that doesn't sound like a lot, it should!  In comparison, wine has about 200... Showcasing this rich flavor variety in coffee is one of our main motivations! From Ethiopia to Peru, Tanzania to Brazil, those that seek premium single origin coffee, like via our coffee club, get to delight in the ultimate flavor discovery of rich deliciousness. 

And fun quick sip: some studies have even shown that just the smell of coffee can be beneficial. Apparently the scent of coffee can improve antioxidant properties, combating the effects of stress in your body’s cells. More research is still required but hey, if anything could make the smell of coffee even better it would be health benefits like this, ha! 

Can you tell a good coffee vs a bad coffee already from the smell? What should a good coffee smell like?

The better the coffee the better the scent!  With premium selections prepared as a light roast you'll discover stronger scents of sweet chocolate, vanilla, and various florals, nuts, and fruits. Good coffee will emit a fresh and not stale scent, bright and not dull. Of course, there is a shelf life to good coffee, you'll notice a decline in flavor after a few months. 

On the other end of the spectrum, be cautious of blends and dark roasts like Italian roast & French roast. Darker roasts mask the unique flavors in single-origin coffee, often used by big brands to cover up cheap quality coffee, using over-roasting as a way to make it taste "bold" to the point of where you can't pick up on any unique flavors. The coffee world has certainly been moving towards a finer appreciation.


You specialize in coffees from around the world. What kind of differences do you notice based on where the coffee is grown?

With more than 50 countries producing coffee, each country, region, and lot have their own unique flavor profiles. Coffee varies by geography with elevation, drainage, and weather conditions all playing a big part. In particular, the elevation at which your coffee is grown will determine if your coffee will be mild and dull i.e. an altitude of ~ 760m or lower and on the other end, the higher the altitude the more your coffee will have bright notes of chocolate, nuts, citrus, vanilla, spice, and or floral which typically comes from ~ 1,200m and above. 

Beware of blends, with blends most brands use a mix of lower quality, cheaper coffee. And of course flavored coffee, which is low-grade coffee infused with artificial flavors - something we avoid entirely. 


What are you drinking now? 

We're currently brewing our coffee from Ethiopia, Oromia. Brewed as a pour-over this batch has incredible flavors notes of sweet blueberry and chocolate!  Right now this has been my favorite but I'm eagerly awaiting next month's selection from Uganda, which boasts flavor notes of caramel and red apple! Very excited about that one...


5 Colognes That Smell Like Coffee

If your ideal cologne would be splashing coffee on your wrists — read on. Most coffee scents are better suited for the winter months when warm, cozy smells are most appreciated.

Best Coffee Cologne for Hard Core Coffee Lovers

Amen Pure Coffee FOR MEN by Thierry Mugler EDT Spray

If you love coffee, you'll probably love this one. It's the purest interpretation of splashing coffee on your wrists that I've found. It's a warm, nuisanced scent perfect for the winter months. It feels cozy and while it smells like roasted beans, there's a sweetness to the scent that softens it so it's not overly bitter.

3.4 oz


Best Coffee Cologne for Work

Givenchy Play Intense by Givenchy for Men EDT Spray

To me this feels like a cold winter morning standing there with your coffee in hand, feeling confident to start the day. It's an instant pick-me-up and feels bold and energizing. It's a very modern scent with  a sweet and playful edge — classy and subtle for work.

3.3oz


Best Coffee Cologne for Compliments

Rochas Man Eau de Toilette

I don't know what it is about this fragrance but women seem to love it. It's warm and sweet smelling — lots of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. It's a versatile one — relatively light for a gourmand coffee scent, you could wear it year-round, daytime or evening. My main grip with this one is I alway feel like I'm fumbling with the bottle — but maybe that's just me.

3.4oz


Best Unisex Coffee Scent

Bond No 9 New Haarlem Cologne

This one smells delicious — a gourmand fragrance with notes of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. It's unisex — so if you like the more manly stuff, it might not be for you. That said, everyone will comment on how tasty you smell — it's definitely a conversation starter.

3.4oz


Most Interesting Coffee Interpretation

Parfumerie Generale Coze Eau de Toilette

Warm masculine scent with notes of coffee, pepper, chocolate, vanilla and pimento. I feel like it's managed to hit a very delicate balance of dark notes without feeling like a heavy fragrance. I rarely use the word intoxicating for fragrances but in this case, it's the best word I can think of. Def not for everyone but if you like complex fragrances, you'll likely enjoy it.

50ml