Coffee Essential Oil
Coffee (Coffea) essential oil is extracted primarily from the popular Coffea arabica species, which is used to produce coffee worldwide. Coffea arabica originated in Ethiopia, and first spread to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. The plant was originally used for centuries as medicine. It was the Arab physician Avicenna who first recorded the medicinal use of coffee during the year 1000 AD, and titled the concoction bunc. The term bunc is still used for coffee in Ethiopia today.1
Coffee became a popular social drink in the 16th century, where its prevalence originated in Arabia and Persia. During the 17th century, coffee would join the ranks of salt, sugar, and tea as an extravagant good sold throughout Europe.1
The Coffea arabica is a berry producing plant. Within the locules (small cavities) of the berry are the coffee beans. Coffee essential oil is acquired from the coffee beans through cold press extraction. Coffee essential oil provides a rich aroma which contains base notes of dark roasted coffee. Its warm and inviting fragrance has also been reported to carry underlying hints of brown sugar and cocoa.
Coffee Essential Oil Uses
Coffee has been around for centuries, and throughout its history its uses have been quite diverse. Enjoyed both socially and privately, coffee is one of the most popular beverages on the market today. It is no surprise then, that coffee essential oil is quickly becoming just as favored amongst the essential oil community. Below we list of some of the ways you can use coffee essential oil in your everyday routine.
Using coffee essential oil in your diffuser is a great way to bring the aroma of a fresh brewed pot of coffee into your home. Many will even speculate that coffee essential oil aroma has awakening and stimulating effects. Add 10-15 drops into a diffuser filled with water. Let run for up to 30 minutes to harness the oil’s aromatic qualities.
Enhance Beauty Products
Adding 2-3 drops of coffee essential oil to any bar of soap, unscented shampoo or conditioner will help transfer the pleasant aroma of the oil onto your body. For bars of soap, it works best to rub the coffee essential oil into the soap until you produce enough lather to cover most of your body.
Because coffee beans contain natural antioxidants, use coffee essential oil to help rejuvenate your skin.2 Mix 1-2 drops of coffee essential oil into 1 oz. of unscented moisturizer and apply to your skin. This invigorating mixture will leave your skin feeling smooth and refreshed.
Kahweol is a molecule found in coffee beans and coffee essential oil, and may contain anti-inflammatory properties.5 Mix 2-3 drops of coffee essential oil into 2 Tbsp. of carrier oil (such as grapeseed, coconut, or jojoba). Gently massage onto the affected area.
For a chemical-free air freshener, combine coffee essential oil with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla essential oils for a rich blend of fragrances. Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup of water, 10 drops of coffee essential oil and 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice. Spray the mist throughout your home to eliminate stale air and lingering odors.
Use coffee essential oil in any natural perfume recipe to utilize its aromatic qualities for your own personal fragrance. Mix 20-30 drops of coffee essential oil with 1 tsp of vanilla extract to create your perfume base; add 10-15 drops of cinnamon or nutmeg essential oil as top notes. Mix with a carrier oil in an opaque bottle to help preserve the oil’s pure scent.
Coffee Essential Oil Benefits
The health benefits of coffee essential oil have been the focus of many recent scientific studies, and the preliminary research looks promising. Because coffee essential oil is extracted from the coffee bean, the research discussed below suggests that coffee essential oil contains similar health benefits due to a similar chemical composition (phenolic compounds, alkaloids, and diterpenes).
Coffea arabica contains phenolic compounds, alkaloids, and the diterpenes cafestol and kahweol, all of which are important sources of natural antioxidants. In a 2016 study, aqueous (water solvent) and methanolic (alcohol) extracts of Coffea arabica beans were analyzed for their antioxidant properties.
The study noted that the methanolic extracts exhibited potentially potent antioxidant properties by inhibiting linoleic acid peroxidation (cell damage to fatty acids), and lipoxygenase (oxidation of fatty acids). The highest antioxidant activity was observed in coffee beans from Colombia and Ethiopia.2
The inner skin of a coffee bean is known as coffee silverskin. In 2003, an aqueous extract of coffee silverskin was tested for its anti-aging properties. Scientists induced aging by oxidizing skin cells by use of tert-butyl hydroperoxide (organic peroxide), and ultraviolet radiation. Results of the test indicate that the silverskin extract increased the skin cell’s resistance to oxidative damage induced by the tert-butyl hydroperoxide. These findings help support the anti-aging properties of coffee silverskin, and its potential for improving skin health due to its antioxidant character.3
Promotes Weight Loss
A 2016 study evaluated the chemical compound chlorogenic acid, found in green coffee bean extract, for possible lipid metabolism and body fat regulation. To induce obesity, mice were subjected to a high-fat diet over a 4-week period. The green coffee bean extract treatment considerably reduced body weight gain, liver weight, and white adipose tissue weights. Mice treated with the coffee bean extract had a lower fat mass than the mice who were subjected to the high fat diet only.4
Note: Although this research looks promising, further studies need to be conducted before coffee essential oil can replace existing weight loss treatments. It should be noted that this test was conducted on animals, and not humans. Essential oils should not be ingested, and are not a substitute for conventional weight loss treatments.
Kahweol is a diterpene (two terpene class of chemical compounds) found in coffee beans. A 2011 study analyzed kahweol for its anti-inflammatory properties. Kahweol was applied to isolated human endothelial cells (which line the inner walls of blood vessels), and was observed for any changes in cell growth, cell viability, and cell migration.5,6
Kahweol demonstrated its anti-inflammatory potential by the inhibition of both cyclooxygenase 2 (chemical messengers which promote inflammation) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (increases inflammation by recruiting harmful cells) in endothelial cells. This data suggests kahweol behaves as an anti-inflammatory compound.5
Side Effects of Coffee Essential Oil
Although deemed safe for inhalation and topical use, coffee essential oil may cause irritation or allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin. Always dilute the essential oil in a carrier product before topical application.
Essential oil should never be ingested unless under the direct supervision of a health care provider. Exercise care when using the essential oil on or around children; it is not recommended to use coffee essential oil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Where to Buy Coffee Essential Oil
Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Martinez-Torres, M. E. (2006). Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers. Ohio University Press.
- Zlotek, U., Karas, M., & Gawlik-Dziki, U. (2016, September). Antioxidant activity of the aqueous and methanolic extracts of coffee beans (Coffea arabica L.). Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment, 15(3), 281-288. doi:10.17306/J.AFS.2016.3.27.
- Iriondo-DeHond, A. (2016, June). Coffee Silverskin Extract Protects against Accelerated Aging Caused by Oxidative Agents. Molecules, 21(6). doi:10.3390/molecules21060721.
- Choi, B., Park, S., Lee, D., & Jin, Y. (2016, July). Green coffee bean extract improves obesity by decreasing body fat in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Asian Pac J Trop Med, 9(7), 635-643. doi:10.1016/j.apjtm.2016.05.017.
- Cardenas, C., Quesada, A. R., & Medina, M. A. (2011, August). Anti-Angiogenic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Kahweol, a Coffee Diterpene. Plos One. doi:10.1371/annotation/38262cc6-07cc-4074-8ce7-2181d4d0fbdc.
- Endothelial cells. (n.d.) Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (2008). Retrieved March 27 2017 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Endothelial+cells