The rich, warm, intoxicating aroma of coffee – before the first sip, your nose has already told you how delicious it will be. Coffee scented bath and body products? Yes, please! Since I strongly prefer to use natural scent, I choose to use only essential oils, resins, absolutes, and aromatic waxes in the products that I make. Some of them can be pretty costly; coffee essential oil and coffee butter can be pricey. But if you have some patience, coffee oil is really easy to make. It can be used as the oil portion of sugar scrubs, or even the Sugar Scrub Cubes I posted about a couple of days ago. You can also use it to make a luxurious whipped body butter – and if you use unrefined cocoa butter, your whipped butter will be mocha scented. Coffee and chocolate: now there’s a match made in heaven!
I used a French coffee press to make my coffee oil, but you can also use a regular Mason type jar or a crock pot with good results. A strongly scented coffee oil can be made by infusing roasted and ground coffee in olive oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil. I usually make infusions with olive oil because it has a long shelf life and it’s a relatively lightweight oil. The quality of coffee beans is very important: buy the best quality you can find, and if you don’t have a coffee mill, get them coarsely grinded and start the infusion within 24 hours – the sooner the better. Using a ratio of one part coffee grounds to four parts oil, I’ve infused as little as 16 ounces of olive oil in a French press coffee maker, which yields about 13-14 ounces of coffee oil. Of course, you can make larger batches in a crock pot, but this is a great way to start out and yields enough coffee oil to make smallish trial batches of scrubs, butters, and balms.
Here are the steps for making coffee oil:
Sanitize the French press (or Mason jar or crock pot) and all utensils (a large spoon, 2 glass jars to pour the oil back and forth when straining, and another jar for storing the finished oil, and jar lids) using a solution of 20% bleach; set aside on clean paper towels to dry. Make sure everything is completely dry before you begin – water mixed with oil can allow mold to grow, even a very small amount of water can cause mold/microbial growth.
Weigh 4 oz. fresh coffee grounds, place in the bottom of the French press.
Weigh 12 oz. olive oil and warm slightly in the microwave with a low heat; pour over the coffee grounds and stir with a spoon until there are no more clumps.
4. Carefully place the top of the French press over the top, with the plunger piece pulled all the way up.
5. Set aside for 2-3 weeks, stirring once a day, for a cold infusion. For a hot infusion, place French press with coffee and oil on a heating pad wrapped in hand towels; leave on heating pad for 6-8 hours. Some heating pads have an auto shutoff function like mine does. Intermittent heat will still work, just check it every now and then and turn it back on if it shuts itself off. If using a crock pot, heat on “warm” setting for 6 hours, then turn it off and let it sit until it’s cooled.
6. Strain: press the plunger on the French press to separate the oil from the coffee grounds, or strain with several layers of cheesecloth into a sanitized jar. (Mason jars are great for this.)
7. Using clean disposable gloves, carefully transfer the coffee grounds into a metal strainer (sieve) or several coffee filters; gently press or squeeze the coffee grounds above the container of the oil to extract the last bits of oil. This is the most concentrated part of the infusion, so don’t throw out the coffee grounds until you get as much oil out as possible.
8. Strain the oil, using a double layer of clean cheesecloth.