Olfactory Skills Exam (Le Nez du Cafe)

Q sensory skills exam

Time: 4 Tests, 30 Minutes each

Passing Score: 75% (9/12 correct)

The Q Grader course olfactory skills tests use the Lenoir Le Nez du Cafe (pronounced ‘le nay’) scent vial kit. This kit is available from the SCAA Store, the U.S. importer Make Scents of Wine or coffee supply retailers. The U.S.A. price is approximately $300, with varying service, shipping, and payment options. You can purchase one (and other kits – check with CQI to confirm these apply) from the SCA resource store.

All four olfactory exams focus on the cupper’s ability to match scents rather than identify them. It is better to buy two kits for test practice instead of one.

Le Nez du Cafe tests are grouped by category, corresponding to the famous SCA Art of Aroma 4-poster set:

  • enzymatic
  • sugar browning
  • dry distillation and
  • aromatic taints.

This exercise evaluates an individual’s ability to recognize familiar aromatic scents. The kit contains thirty-six (36) familiar aromatic scents found in the fragrance and aroma of coffee. On each test, you must match six (6) among nine (9) blind pairs, then identify three (3) specified vials of scents.

The ability to correctly identify each scent from memory is helpful but not the goal. It is better to consider this a memory muscle-building exercise. Building the ability to recall and name a scent quickly is far more important in the long run. The test favors recall rather than recognition of Lenoir’s scent interpretation.

Part I, or “matching,” is compulsory for each test. Only six of nine answers will be used, so three spaces will be left blank. Unlike the general knowledge exam, please do not fill in all spaces; they will count against you when wrong.

In Part II, you must correctly identify all three vial codes listed by coffee term. You must answer 9 out of 12 questions (matching and identification) to pass.

As with the sensory skills exam, you must maximize your performance by preparing your mind and body. Adequate sleep and food and avoiding sensory contamination are critical. Avoid aromas and perfumes. Do not wear perfume, avoid strong-smelling soaps, fragrant foods, smoking, and body odor. Smell the bathroom soap at your testing facility before using it.

If you sense an aroma problem from a fellow test subject, take your instructor aside and let them know immediately. Contamination affects your ability to perform on a Le Nez du Cafe olfactory skills test and potentially taint the vials used in testing. One minor issue may affect an entire class.

Learn how to set up and take the olfactory exam in this online practice course.