wake up and smell the coffee

Wake up and smell the coffee is an expression sometimes said by someone who wants you to try to pay attention to what is going on. Smelling the coffee is symbolic in this idiom because it is referring to the act of waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee and also how coffee is associated with being more alert to your surroundings. So when someone tells you to wake up and smell the coffee, they mean to pay more attention to what is going on around you.