I’ve written before about my love for coffee, both as a beverage and as a fragrance. I’m always surprised that more coffee-scented body products don’t exist. Surely I’m not the only person who loves this smell so much? For anyone who shares my obsession, here’s a summary of a few high-quality toiletries that include actual coffee for its smell as well as its other benefits.
Lush’s Sonic Death Monkey Shower Gel (shown above, middle) looks like something you could drizzle over ice cream, and it smells like a drink that would set you back about $7 at Starbucks: a potent mocha blend of coffee and chocolate, with a shot of orange syrup. I don’t really understand why it’s named after the band fronted by the character Barry in High Fidelity [warning: link is to a clip from the movie at YouTube, and contains profanity] but that doesn’t really matter. This gel is mouth-wateringly rich, and it’s concentrated enough so that a quarter-sized amount gives lots of lather. (3.3 oz. for $9.25 at lush)
For smoothing dry or rough skin, Malie Kauai offers its all-natural Organic Coffee Macadamia Body Polish. This dry, scrubby formula of coffee beans, macadamia nuts, and vanilla essential oil (all organic!) in a base of Hawaiian sugar and cocoa butter reminds me of so-called “rainforest crunch” candy, without the tooth-achy regrets. (12 oz. for $42 at at amazon and skinorganix)
For milder exfoliation, Terranova's Organic Oasis Green Coffee & Yerba Mate Stimulating Body Scrub (shown above, right) is a lightly sudsing gel whose bergamot, lemon, and orange oils add a citrusy twist to the earthier notes of coffee and yerba mate. (9 oz. for $16.50 at amazon and skinorganix)
Alba Botanica Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion (shown above, left) is enjoyable as suggested, after a day outdoors, but also as a final step to a java-themed shower ritual. It smells exactly like a cup of freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee with cream, and it soothes the skin with shea butter, nut oils, and aloe vera. Like these other products, it claims to improve circulation with the caffeine contained in its coffee extracts. Does that actually work? I have no idea. Do the scents of all these products make me feel happier and more energetic, through aromatherapy or the power of suggestion? Yes. (8.5 oz. for $11.95 at amazon and albabotanica)
Lastly, if you’d rather just drink something coffee-flavored, I can recommend one of my favorite beverages: Manhattan Special. This bottled treat, made in Brooklyn since 1895, is a fizzy, potent mix of espresso, sugar, and seltzer water. I buy Manhattan Special from my local Italian grocer, but it was finally made available on the internet just a few months ago, extending its addictive reach beyond the New York metro area. Drink it chilled, admire the vintage label illustration of a Jazz Age couple embracing before a Manhattan skyline, and ponder the singular appeal of all things coffee-enhanced. (About $2 per 10 oz. bottle though sodapopstop or corellisspecialtyfoods; you can read more about the company here.