Greetings from a… you guessed it! A rainy Ireland! It’s quite weird really. Moving from a country that the weather apps tell you you are constantly chasing a storm, to getting rain every day and it is just… normal… its freaking awesome! As long as you have waterproof shoes and a big arsed umbrella, and tea when you get home, you’re grand.
Anyways, today’s post is about infusions. It’s a quick, and easy post, and I’ll not bore you with too many details- for if you can make tea, you can do this! When I first heard about infusing, I was just told to toss some of ingredient A into a cheap oil and let it sit for a few weeks. Then I was told later about tossing some of ingredient A into an expensive oil and heating it for a few hours in a double boiler.
Basically, both ways are right. But both suggestions suck. Big time. And these suggestions suck for one reason, how on earth will you duplicate your infusion next year or in five years? Sure, some instructions will tell you to fill a specific jar 1/4 full and top up with oil and all that, but at the end of the day… I like my measurements for things like this. I like to know I can repeat the results again and again. And then, there is no hard and fast rule for how much say lavender to add in to how much oil. I mean 20g of lavender is a heck of a lot of lavender. You’d need a lot of oil to cover that amount! Talk about brain frazzling.
The mythical ingredient A can be any dried botanical. Even a powdered extract. As long as it is dried, it is good to go! So lavender buds, chamomile, raisins, cardamom, coffee grinds, dried cranberries or goji berries… you name it. Yeah. I did say raisins. Not sure why you’d want to use infuse raisins, but you can make an infusion with raisins if you’d like! Let me know how that goes! I’ve never seen a chart or guide telling me how much of ingredient A to add into your oils, so it is a lot of playing it by ear here. The more you add in, the more potent your infusion will be. The longer you steep it, the more potent your infusion is going to be.
When making infusions to make products for yourself is a very cheap thing to do, especially if you have a garden and you can dry things for yourself. There is a fair bit of chatter on the internet that if you are going to be making products with an infused oil, just save some money to do it yourself. And whilst I agree only if your infused product is for yourself. If you are planning on selling your product made with an infused oil? I would strongly suggest buying your infused oil from a reputable source. This way you can ensure of the potency and the amount of ingredient A the oil will contain each and every time. This way you can ensure quality control in every batch with the appropriate paperwork in your pocket.
And that is the most important thing; I discovered one more way that I could keep costs low, I really don’t need a litre of any infused oil. Even if the containers look oh so pretty. So now I usually stick around 50-100g per batch.
For this coming Christmas you are going to be seeing a lot of posts using coffee infused sweet almond oil. So rather than springing the need to infuse your oils on you when it comes time to making products and then you’ll have to wait for your infusion or spend a day making sure there is water in your double boiler, I am telling you this now, so you can have a full month to get your oils infused. This way you can prepare your stash before hand!
So why do people infuse oils. As I said at the beginning of the post, for it is like tea. You drink tea to consumer some of the awesomeness of the ingredient you are drinking. And sometimes when we infuse oils, we are looking for something specific. Could be the healing properties, the soothing properties, the scent, an oil of some sort. Or just because we can.
So without further ado, let’s begin with:
My preferred method of infusing oils with coffee is the one that takes a friggen long time and a lot of planning to get sorted out.
Method One: Shelf Method
Decant your coffee grinds into your glass jar, add your oil, and cap. Shake for a good five minutes. Place your container in a cool, dark place, and allow to stand for about four weeks. Shake a few times every week. Strain, and bottle the now infused oils and use in your various recipes. For this recipe, I decided not to use what I call an infusing bag (just a gauze/tea bag like thingie) as I find coffee grinds still go through, but I do use the bags when I infuse herbs! They are lovely little things that help you to get more preciously infused oils from your mixture!
Method Two: Force Method
Decant your coffee grinds into your heat proof glass jar, add in your oil, and cap. Shake. Place into your double boiler make sure the water comes up to about halfway up your container. Turn your double boiler to the lowest setting and all your infusion to be gently warmed for about four to ten hours. Shake during this time, and be sure to keep that water level up. If you need to add in more water, make sure the water that you are adding is above the temperature of your double boiler to prevent the glass exploding.
Once you are confident your infusion is ready, strain, and use in your various recipes. Bottle the remaining oil and store as usual. For a more descriptive version of how to create a forced infusion (and a wicked explanation of why using minerals oils is OK!) check out Aquarian Soap.
To use: Let’s say I have a lip recipe that calls for 10g sweet almond oil. Instead of using regular sweet almond oil, I could swap it 1:1 for the infused oil and hopefully have all those glorious coffee benefits! Not to mention, that gorgeous coffee colour too!