If you ever have been to some fancy perfume shop, you must have experienced that a salesperson offers you to smell coffee beans while sniffing different perfumes.
Have you ever wondered why coffee beans are kept in a perfume shop? What is the purpose of sniffing these coffee beans while testing different fragrances?
Well, it is commonly believed that coffee beans act as a palate cleanser, and it helps you differentiate among several perfumes at a store. In perfume stores, your sniffing sensitivity diminishes because of a phenomenon known as olfactory fatigue and it becomes very difficult for you to distinguish between various perfumes.
Coffee beans as an olfactory palate cleanser
Coffee beans are well known as olfactory cleansers. When we are sniffing different perfumes at a perfume shop, our noses become incapable of differentiating among them because of olfactory fatigue.
What is Olfactory fatigue?
Olfactory fatigue, also known as nose blindness, is a temporary disorder in which our nose becomes incapable of distinguishing a particular smell after being exposed to it for a prolonged time. And the sensitivity our nose restores as soon as we leave the area of higher concentration.
You may have noticed when you go to some restaurant, you perceive a strong smell of different kind of foods, and after some time that smell vanishes away or become much weaker.
This is because of olfactory fatigue, our olfactory glands become familiar with the smell of food after some time, and they stop sensing it. And after you leave that restaurant, the sensitivity of your nose restores.
why do perfume shops have coffee beans?
The reason behind keeping coffee beans in a perfume store is the fact that coffee beans act as an olfactory palate cleanser. Salesmen often advise you to sniff coffee beans when you are trying different perfumes. This clears your nasal passages and you can easily distinguish among a variety of perfumes.
Otherwise, you will not distinguish among the notes that are common among all the perfumes. When you sniff the coffee beans, your nasal receptors wake up again, and you can smell the original intensity of the fragrance.
Are coffee beans really effective?
It’s a natural phenomenon that our brain senses the high frequency of fragrance when we sniff the perfume for the first time. And when we try to sniff a second or third perfume our brain becomes familiar with the common compounds in the perfumes and we can’t sense the real fragrance of the perfume.
Coffee beans just act as intermediate and try to refresh our brain’s sensitivity. This can also be accomplished by sniffing lemon, orange, or your own skin.
Coffee beans are not a very effective olfactory palate cleanser. Dr. Alexis Grosofosky a Phycologist, from Beloit College, has proved that there is no scientific explanation for the claim that the aroma of different compounds in coffee beans acts as a cleaner of nasal passages.
Dr. Alexis Grosofosky conducted experimentation to check the authenticity of coffee beans as a palate cleanser. They performed the experiment on college students with four different commercial perfumes. Each participant first sniffed three of the four perfumes, and they rated them for their intensity and pleasantness.
Then the participants were given coffee beans, lemon slices, and just plain air to sniff as a palate cleanser. After that, the participants were given all four perfumes, and they were asked to identify the new one.
And the results were quite surprising, most of the students pointed out the correct perfume after sniffing lemon slices, and the results after sniffing coffee beans were only 60% a little more than plain air.
Hence it is proved that coffee beans are not that effective olfactory palate cleanser as the results with coffee beans are not statistically significant.
Another best way to cope with nose blindness is to sniff your skin. It also helps a lot to regain the sensitivity of nasal passages.
So, it would be more appropriate to use coffee beans for brewing a perfect espresso shot, instead of using them to recover your sniffing sensitivity in perfume stores. As you have more effective ways to do so.
Also read: Why coffee has no calories?
How to select the perfume then?
Coffee beans are usually used for clearing the nasal palate for those who want to smell different perfumes before buying them. But even if we believe that the coffee beans are the best palate cleanser, even then you can’t effectively sniff different scents in the perfumy ambiance of the store.
The perfect way to select the perfume is to ask for recommendations from the expert salesman and ask him at what occasions or environments a particular scent can be used ideally (for example, there are different perfumes for office, dinner, and party).
The salesman then might give you a dozen of options of your desired category. For each recommendation, ask the salesman to spray the perfume on some small card or small piece of cloth and write the perfume’s name on it.
Then go away from the perfumy ambiance of the store to some fresh and sniff each piece of card one by one. In between, wait for a while, and take a deep breath. Or you can also ask for recommendations if you are on shopping with some friends.
I hope you find a detailed answer to why are coffee beans used in perfume shops in this article. They are considered a nasal palate cleanser as though they are not entirely effective as proven experimentally.
1- Is smelling coffee beans good for you?
The smell of roasted coffee beans is fairly delicate and refreshing. It actually helps to enhance your mood and improve your memory.