coffee explained

Why Does Coffee Smell Like Cat Pee


Have you ever wondered why your coffee sometimes smells like cat pee? It’s a strange but relatively common issue that is attributed to the presence of ammonia and amines in the beans.

This blog post seeks to explore this peculiar phenomenon, discussing possible reasons for it and how to prevent such potential turn-offs in your cup of Joe. Stay with us, because what you learn could drastically improve your morning brew!

Quick Takeaways
  • Coffee can sometimes smell like cat pee due to the presence of ammonia and amines in the beans.
  • Spoiled coffee beans, low – quality roasting, brewing at incorrect temperatures, and dirty equipment can contribute to the unpleasant smell.
  • To prevent coffee from smelling like cat pee, use fresh and high – quality beans, properly roast them, brew at the correct temperature (between 195°F and 205°F), and regularly clean your brewing equipment.

Reasons for Coffee Smelling Like Cat Pee

Spoiled coffee beans can contribute to the unpleasant cat urine odor in coffee.

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Spoiled coffee beans

Bad coffee beans cause bad smells. If the beans are not fresh, they can make your coffee smell like cat pee. Rancid beans give off an ammonia-like odor. Cheap brands often use these spoiled beans.

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They turn bad fast and fill your cup with that unliked cat pee scent. So, always pick fresh and good quality beans for a pleasing aroma in your coffee.

Presence of ammonia and amines

Ammonia and amines are chemicals that can be found in coffee, and they play a role in the cat pee smell. Ammonia is a compound also found in cat urine, which is why there may be some similarity between the smells.

These substances are likely formed or released during the process of roasting coffee beans. Coffee contains alkyl and nitrogen compounds, which contribute to its unique smells. So, when you detect that distinct cat pee aroma in your coffee, it’s because of the presence of ammonia and amines in the beans.

Factors Affecting Coffee Smell

The coffee smell can be influenced by various factors.

Roasting process

During the roasting process, coffee beans are heated to a high temperature. This is done to bring out their unique flavors and aromas. As the beans roast, chemical reactions occur that result in different compounds being formed.

These compounds are responsible for the various smells and tastes of coffee. In some cases, if the roasting process is not done properly or if low-quality beans are used, it can contribute to a negative aroma in the coffee.

It’s important for coffee enthusiasts to understand the importance of proper roasting techniques to ensure a pleasant smelling cup of joe.

Brewing temperature

The brewing temperature of coffee can greatly affect its aroma. When the temperature is too high, it can lead to a burnt or bitter smell in your coffee. On the other hand, brewing at a temperature that’s too low can result in under-extracted flavors and a weak aroma.

To achieve the best smell in your coffee, it’s important to brew it at the correct temperature. This will help release all the aromatic compounds from the beans and create that inviting scent you love.

So, make sure to pay attention to your brewing temperature for a delightful coffee experience.

Cleanliness of coffee-making tools

To make sure your coffee doesn’t smell like cat pee, it’s important to keep your coffee-making tools clean. Dirty equipment can contribute to unwanted odors in your brew. The buildup of old coffee residue and oils can affect the taste and aroma of your drink.

So, make sure to regularly clean your coffee grinder, brewing machine, and any other tools you use for making coffee. This will help ensure that you’re brewing a fresh cup every time without any unpleasant smells interfering with your enjoyment.

How to Address Coffee Smelling Like Cat Pee

To address the issue of coffee smelling like cat pee, make sure to use fresh coffee beans, properly roast them, brew at the correct temperature, and ensure cleanliness of your brewing equipment.

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Use fresh coffee beans

To avoid that unpleasant cat pee smell in your coffee, it’s important to use fresh coffee beans. Old or stale beans can contribute to the bad aroma. Freshly roasted beans have a rich and aromatic scent, enhancing the overall coffee experience.

So make sure you buy your beans from a reputable source and check for the roast date before purchasing. Using fresh beans will ensure that you enjoy a flavorful cup of coffee without any unwanted odors.

Properly roast coffee beans

To address the cat pee smell in your coffee, it’s important to properly roast your coffee beans. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose high-quality, fresh coffee beans: Fresh beans will have a better aroma and flavor, so make sure you buy them from a trusted source.
  2. Store your beans properly: Keep your coffee beans in an airtight container away from moisture, heat, and light. This will help preserve their freshness and prevent them from going rancid.
  3. Use the right temperature: Roasting coffee at the correct temperature is crucial for achieving the desired flavor profile. Different types of beans require different roasting temperatures, so be sure to follow the recommended guidelines.
  4. Pay attention to timing: Over-roasting your coffee beans can lead to unpleasant flavors and aromas. Keep an eye on the roasting process and remove the beans from heat at the right time.
  5. Allow proper cooling: After roasting, let the coffee beans cool down completely before grinding or brewing. This will help enhance their aroma and ensure a better tasting cup of coffee.

Brew coffee at the correct temperature

To avoid coffee smelling like cat pee, it’s important to brew your coffee at the correct temperature. Using water that is too hot can lead to a burnt taste and unpleasant aroma. On the other hand, using water that is too cold may result in under-extraction, which can also affect the smell of your coffee.

The ideal brewing temperature for most coffee is between 195°F and 205°F (90°C to 96°C). This ensures that you extract the best flavors from your beans while maintaining a pleasant aroma.

By paying attention to the temperature when brewing your coffee, you can enjoy a delicious cup without any unwanted smells.

Ensure cleanliness of brewing equipment

To prevent coffee from smelling like cat pee, it’s important to keep your brewing equipment clean. Here’s how:

  • Regularly wash your coffee maker or espresso machine with hot soapy water.
  • Pay special attention to the carafe, filter basket, and any other removable parts.
  • Use a brush to scrub away any leftover grounds or residues.
  • Rinse all the parts thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
  • If your coffee maker has a build – up of mineral deposits, descale it regularly using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water.
  • Run this mixture through the machine as if you were brewing a pot of coffee, then rinse thoroughly with plain water.
  • Allow all the parts to air dry completely before reassembling and using them again.
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Are Japanese Canned Coffees Affected by the Smell of Cat Pee?

Best japanese canned coffee is a beloved beverage, but concerns have arisen regarding its smell. Rumors about it resembling cat pee are unfounded. While canned coffee does have its unique aroma, reminiscent of freshly brewed coffee, it certainly does not smell like cat urine. Enjoy the rich flavors of Japanese canned coffee without any worries about unpleasant scents.


In conclusion, the cat pee smell in coffee can be caused by spoiled beans or the presence of ammonia and amines. Factors like the roasting process, brewing temperature, and cleanliness of equipment can also affect the coffee’s aroma.

To address this issue, use fresh beans, properly roast them, brew at the right temperature, and keep your equipment clean. By doing these things, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee without any unwanted odors.

Does the Smell of Coffee Have Any Impact on Your Hunger Levels?

Does the smell of coffee have any impact on your hunger levels? Many people report feeling hungry after coffee, but scientific evidence is inconclusive. While the aroma of coffee may stimulate appetite in some individuals, it’s important to consider other factors like caffeine’s effect on digestion and individual differences in response.


1. Why does my coffee smell like cat pee?

Sometimes, the aroma of coffee can remind some people of cat pee. This is due to nitrogen compounds in the roasted coffee that react with oxygen and caffeine during brewing.

2. What causes this urinelike smell in my coffee?

Unfresh or rancid coffee beans can give off a smelly odor similar to cat urine when brewed at certain temperatures, creating a feline urine scent in your cup.

3. Can I reduce the unpleasant fragrance while brewing coffee?

Using fresh beans can lower the reaction between ammonia and oxgyen, hence reducing any chance of producing a cat pee-like smell in your brewed drink.

4. Is there connection between excess ammonia present imparts Urine-like odor to Coffee?

Yes, it’s believed that an excessive amount of ammonia found within unfresh coffee beans produces a urinelike odor when brewed under high heat.

5. Is every type of Coffee prone to produce a Cat Pee like stench?

No! Checking roast freshness and right temperature for brewing helps keep away from such odors thus ensuring pleasant aroma intact rather than resembling any foul scent.

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About the author


Samuel is a coffee lover and a writer. He's travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has soaked up the sun, the culture, and of course - the coffee. He loves to write about his experiences, and he hopes to travel even more in the future.

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