Why Do They Put Coffee Beans In Perfume Stores? – Barista HQ

You’d expect to come across coffee beans in a home kitchen or local cafe, but many people would never expect to find them in a perfume shop.

Well, coffee beans are actually a common addition to perfume shops, and while this may seem odd to you, there’s a very simple explanation.

So if you’re wondering why there are coffee beans in a perfume store, keep reading to find out!

You know how many chefs separate food courses with a palate cleanser to help patrons (and their taste buds) prepare for the next course?

Well, the concept behind coffee beans at a perfume counter is very similar to this.

Put as simply as possible, when you sniff coffee beans it acts as a nasal palate cleanser for the olfactory system. In the case of sniffing coffee beans, they’re referred to as an olfactory palate cleanser since they relate to the sense of smell.

Sniffing coffee beans awakens the nasal receptors, and most importantly, this practice gives you the full experience when sampling different scents in a perfume store.

Perfume Store and Coffee Beans

At this point, you may be asking yourself, are nose palate cleansers really necessary?

In our day-to-day lives, no, but in situations where you're smelling different fragrances in a short period of time, yes!

This is because our nose can become confused when too many scents are involved or even stop smelling the scents altogether, and olfactory cleansers - such as coffee beans or lemon slices - can help to reduce that confusion.

One of the perfect examples of nose confusion, AKA nose blindness, is when you walk into your home or the smell of your own skin.

Someone who is new to your home may smell scents that you're unable to pick up merely because you're around these scents all the time, and your nose has essentially become immune, or blind, to them.

When this “nose blindness” happens, it’s called olfactory fatigue, which is basically when our olfactory system becomes blind to a scent and aren’t able to pick up certain smells as effectively.

It goes without saying that this can become an issue when sniffing perfumes, but luckily, it can be prevented by adding roasted coffee beans into the mix.

How Do Coffee Beans Neutralize Smell?

As it turns out, coffee beans aren’t just used in perfume stores.

Coffee is an extremely effective ingredient for neutralizing smell and covering up odors, and it’s often described as offering a strong olfactory stimulus.

The biggest explanation for this is the pungent aroma associated with coffee.

Smelling coffee beans is a sure-fire way to shock your sense of smell, especially since it gives off aromas that are much different from light and airy perfumes.

coffee beans

But coffee beans don’t just neutralize odors; they also have the ability to filter the surrounding air, at least to a small extent.

Coffee can absorb smells and act as a filtering agent thanks to its high levels of nitrogen within it, so if you want to remove odors as well as toxic pollutants, it’s worth giving coffee beans a shot.

Using Coffee Beans Effectively To Neutralize Odors (More Tips)

If you want to neutralize odors as effectively as possible, there are a few things you should know.

First off, it's best to use coffee that's fresh from the bag; old beans will start to become stale and won't get the job done as well.

It doesn't matter if you use whole beans or ground coffee - both will work well as long as the coffee you're using is fresh.

Coffee Beans and Powder

This may sound odd, but you might want to bring your own coffee beans with you when shopping around for perfumes.

Many stores don’t switch out the beans, making them stale and saturated with different perfume scents (which defeats the purpose of using beans in the first place).

You might also want to try other methods for preventing olfactory fatigue. The easiest way is to give your nose a break by walking away from the perfumes into some fresh air.

You can also try smelling a piece of wool, which is made from lanolin (sheep fat) rich natural fibers that can help to relax the nasal receptors.

Frequently Asked Coffee Beans Smell Questions

What is the smell of coffee called?

The smells associated with coffee are called aromas, and each blend of coffee beans has a unique aroma. One blend may give off hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, while others emit an aroma that is chocolatey.

Is smelling strong coffee good for you?

Actually, yes! Here’s what a 2018 article from HuffPost has to say about that: 

“Often touted for its many health benefits, new research suggests you might not even need to drink coffee to reap some of its rewards, with a U.S. study finding that just the scent of a cup of joe could help give people a cognitive boost that improves performance on certain tasks.”
Is there a coffee-themed perfume on the market?

There are several highly-rated coffee-scented skincare products on the market, including perfumes. You can even buy a set of Coffee Shop Essential Oils to add to your diffuser. 

What scents can you mix with coffee?

Several scents are known to mix well with coffee, like sweet orange, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, and lavender.


To recap, coffee beans are often placed around perfume stores as a way to deal with olfactory fatigue, or nose blindness.

When used correctly, the beans act as a “palate cleanser” for your nose so that you can get the full effect when sniffing.

While coffee isn’t the only ingredient that can prevent olfactory fatigue and nose blindness, it’s definitely an effective one, especially in fragrance-filled environments like perfume stores.

Caitlin Shaffer


Caitlin Shaffer
Caitlin Shaffer, is a knowledgeable coffee expert and passionate writer. Her articles are a mix of personal experiences, insights gained from her travels, and interviews, offering an extensive view of the global coffee scene. Caitlin enjoys embarking on new travel adventures, often to destinations celebrated for their unique coffee offerings, from Indonesia to Italy and Colombia, adding a worldly flavor to her articles. Her go-to coffee? Cold brew with homemade vanilla syrup – a personal favorite that keeps her love for coffee fresh and exciting.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... cold brew with homemade vanilla syrup.

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback

Leave a Comment