COVID-19 Smell Check: Coffee!


This card should smell like coffee.

If you picked up that scent, good morning to you and your nose! If you couldn't detect the aroma, self-isolate and speak with a healthcare professional—see details below.

Didn't smell the aroma? Take action!

Self-isolate until you speak with a healthcare professional:

Smell naming is hard.

Take it from Penn State's sensory scientists, identifying a smell without some verbal cue is very difficult.

"Oh, what's that word—it's on the tip of my tongue."

That same missed connection happens with our sense of smell; it's called the "tip of the nose" phenomenon. It's caused by poor connections between the brain regions that process smell and language.

For this Smell Check, participants are given a word bank (or a multiple-choice question) to help them with naming the scent. This helps researchers and clinicians separate a true inability to smell from an inability to pinpoint an exact odor.

Learn More

Stop. Smell. Be Well.There’s mounting scientific evidence that anosmia, or loss of smell, may be one of the earliest and most specific symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Sensory scientists in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences are encouraging people to perform a daily smell check to help nip COVID-19 at the bud.

Visit the "Stop. Smell. Be Well." webpage for details on the science behind how the virus attacks the sense of smell. Plus, see listings of other symptoms associated with COVID-19, Penn State resources, and associated news stories.