Ethyl acetate is one of the simplest carboxylate esters. (Former Molecule of the Week methyl format is the simplest.) The colorless liquid has a sweet, fruity odor that most people find pleasant.
Ethyl acetate is a widely used solvent, especially for paints, varnishes, lacquers, cleaning mixtures, and perfumes. Like last week’s MOTW, dichloromethane, it is used as a solvent for decaffeinating coffee beans. In the lab, ethyl acetate is a common solvent for column and thin-layer chromatography.