Recycled coffee a new cosmetics ingredient? Kaffe Bueno launch

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Recycled coffee a new cosmetics ingredient? Kaffe Bueno launch
In a move that taps into ongoing interest in ingredients made of recycled or waste materials, Kaffe Bueno has launched its new Recycled Coffee Oil.

The Copenhagen-based biotech startup says that in vitro ​testing has found the ingredient  - a polyphenol-rich oil (INCI: Coffea Arabica Seed Oil) - can offer various skin care benefits, including anti-aging, skin repair (wound healing), sun care, moisturisation, and cellulite treatment.

“The oil works well in multifunctional formulations and due to our sustainable sourcing of raw material it is able to keep costs down for formulators in comparison to existing green and roasted coffee oils on the market,” the company says.

The polyphenol-rich oil (INCI: Coffea Arabica Seed Oil) has been thoroughly tested and demonstrates to be a valuable asset in personal care formulations, the company says.

Coffee lipids not new, but recycling brings it forward

Kaffe Bueno explains that the skin and hair benefits of the lipid fraction of coffee are already widely known in the cosmetic industry.

Green and roasted coffee oils have found their way into formulations across various segments within skincare formulations.

However, less than 1% of the bioactive compounds inside coffee are taken advantage of when brewing the coffee beverage. This means, according to the startup, that the 99% left has historically been mistakenly treated as waste.

The beneficial compounds inside coffee remain almost completely intact after brewing a cup of coffee, except for the water-soluble, like caffeine. This offers an opportunity for these compounds to be reclaimed from waste coffee.


Testing focus

Last year, Innohealth Group in Madrid carried out in vitro​ tests on the Recycled Coffee Oil, produced by Kaffe Bueno in Copenhagen.

Data showed a significant positive effect of the oil as anti-ageing as it presented a significant antioxidant activity as well as Nrf2 induction which are directly involved in the response to oxidative stress.

Moreover, polyphenols, phenolic acids, particularly caffeoylquinic acid (CQA), tocopherols and linoleic acid have been reported as having significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.

In vitro​ efficacy data on several aspects related to skin repair (e.g. glucose uptake and real-time would healing in keratinocytes, and antioxidant activity) have showed a significant positive effect of the Kaffe Bueno coffee oil as a promoter of skin repair, besides safety as no cytotoxic effect in several cell models was observed.

Sun care spotlight

In terms of sun care, there is evidence that coffee oil is able to absorb UV radiation in UVB range, which causes the greatest damage to the human skin, while having a safe tanning effect.

In fact, using only coffee bean oil has shown to serve as an agent that filters light selectively in the wavelength range of 280-320 nm, allowing the skin to brown while simultaneously avoiding solar erythema.

In vitro​ efficacy data showed that the coffee oil has significant antioxidant activity which can support its use for counteracting the ROS and UVB deleterious effects on skin.

The lipid fraction extracted from spent coffee grounds (SCG) is high in linoleic acid which has been reported as having several beneficial effects as an ingredient for skin moisturizers.

Recycled Coffee Oil is a source of several fatty acids, including linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid.

Spent coffee lipid extracts are mainly composed by triglycerides, essentially made of linoleic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid, and other antioxidant compounds such as caffeoylquinic acid (CQA).

Ribeiro et al. (2013) investigated the feasibility of using the lipid fraction of spent coffee ground (SCG) in the development of new cosmetic formulations with improved skin lipids (sebum) and hydration.

The authors reported that emulsion containing 10% of the lipid fraction of SCG cream presented promising characteristics in the improvement of sebum skin levels with a good acceptance by consumers when compared to an emulsion containing 10% w/w of green coffee oil and placebo without coffee oil.

After a 28-day application, it was shown that these creams were safe as they were non-irritating to the skin and very effective in terms of moisturizing.

Natural and recycled

In terms of why recycled coffee oil makes a good potential new ingredient for the beauty industry, Kaffe Bueno says it comes down to the rising consumer demand for sustainable products.

“Consumer’s increasing demand for natural products pushes formulators buying decisions,” the company explains.

“However, natural ingredients - most often than not - come at high costs, affecting either margins or prices. Additionally, not all coffee oils are created equal.”

The ones currently available are extracted either from green or roasted coffee beans, Kaffe Bueno explains, and this makes current coffee oil prices expensive and volatile for formulators, as the cost of raw material is affected by fluctuations in supply and demand.

Moreover, it prevents coffee from going through its whole life-cycle, generating tons of waste. “This is why looking at waste as a resource will dictate the future of production of raw materials,” asserts the company.

Kaffe Bueno is expected to establish Scandinavia’s first Coffee Biorefinery this year, where they aim to process 5 tonnes of coffee grounds per month from selected hotels and corporate partners around Copenhagen.

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