Benzoin is a gum that comes from the bark of a type of tree (called Styrax), which takes 7 years to be ready for harvesting. To extract benzoin gum, farmers make an incision into the Styrax bark. After 10 weeks the sweet ‘gum’ is ready to be ‘tapped’ out. Our benzoin comes from Laos and our production engages 40,000 local farmers who are directly involved in harvesting benzoin as an additional source of income.
Our essential oils are responsibly sourced, vegan and fully traceable. They do no wrong, and of course they smell incredible.
Do few things,
but do those few things well.
We're serious about what goes into our essential oils. We pick our ingredients at their freshest, and take great care to ensure that they're responsibly sourced, vegan, traceable – and totally guilt-free.
Cardamom essential oil is created by CO2 extraction of the seeds of cardamom to produce a spicy and vibrant scent. Our cardamom is sourced from Guatemala, where we’ve developed long-standing relationship with the local farmers.
Our Roman chamomile essential oil is created by hydro distillation from chamomile flowers from the Cuneo province in Italy (south of Turin) and in the Loire Valley (north of Cholet) of France. Our farmers pick the flowers during the peak production season from July – August.
Our clary sage is picked in southern France during the summer time, when farmers wait for droplets to appear on the stem of the plant as a signal the plant is ready for harvesting. Stems are then cut off and the short purple-pink herb is left to dry for 2-3 days. Farmers are supported through our partner to ensure steady demand during difficult growing seasons.
Our jasmine flowers are handpicked in south India during peak production season from March-June, and belong to a family called Jasmine Sambac. The ‘white gold’ flowers don’t last very long so after picking in the morning, extraction must occur that same evening. We work with local farmers to provide education on better agricultural practices, with reduced pesticide usage and improved water access for the fields.
One of the most well-known essential oils, lavender is hydro-distilled from the stems and leaves of this purple shrub. We work with farmers to encourage the use of green fertilisers and new cultivation techniques to multiply their crop yield. This in turn increases the returns for farmers, and ensures a sustainable revenue stream. We are also actively working on projects to eradicate the spreading virus on lavender crops in Provence.
Our neroli essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowers of bitter orange trees. It comes from Morocco, where we work with a local producer to ensure women have access to work opportunities and are paid fair wages with safe working conditions.
Our rose essential oil is a mix of rose absolute, rose oil, and rose essential oil components. Each component offering unique properties and scent qualities. To produce our Turkish rose, we work with local agronomists who use sustainable harvesting techniques to improve the yield and quality of rose petals. Our farmers also use the right dose and type of fertilisers to minimise the environmental impact of their production.
Our sandalwood essential oil is extracted by hydro distillation from the wood and roots of the sandalwood tree. It comes from the French territory of New Caledonia, where we work with the local communities of Kanaks to ensure employment opportunities for young farmers, and sustainable production practices to prevent deforestation. We work along all aspects of the supply chain, including at the stage of vegetal selection, vegetal production, and harvesting techniques.
Different distillation methods are used for different plants to most optimally extract their ‘essence,’ i.e. transform them from plant, bark, petal, or leaf into essential oil. A specific method might be chosen based on how delicate a flower is, what consistency it starts off as, and the desired output.
- Hydro distillation
- CO₂ extraction
- Alcohol extraction
- Solvent extraction
Hydro distillation uses water to gently extract fragrance from flowers and transform them into oils. We use this distillation method to extract our chamomile oil, lavender oil, neroli oil, rose oil, clary sage oil and sandalwood oil.
Hydro distillation method ↓
Flowers (or stems, leaves, petals) are added to a big tinned copper or stainless steel container.
Water is then added to the container until filled up.
The water is heated and when it reaches 100°C, the temperature is maintained.
At this stage, water (which is now mixed with the fragrant flowers) evaporates through a small pipe and travels to a condenser.
In the condenser, the evaporated water cools and returns to liquid form – called distillate. The condenser temperature is maintained at 35°C to avoid premature solidification.
The distillate is collected in Florentine flasks, where we see a separation of liquid and oil because of the different densities of each substance.
What floats on the water’s surface is a layer of oil, and in our case, chamomile oil, lavender oil, neroli oil, rose oil, clary sage oil and sandalwood oil.
CO₂ extraction is a method used to extract a plant essence by using carbon dioxide as a solvent. It is used to extract our cardamom CO₂ extract, and preserves components within cardamom better than other extraction methods.
The CO₂ extraction method ↓
Pressurised carbon dioxide (CO₂) is pumped into a chamber filled with the plant or flower. The pressure makes carbon dioxide have liquid like properties, while technically still being a gas.
Since the carbon dioxide now acts like a fluid, it functions as a solvent and pulls the ‘essence’ components out of the flower.
Once the aromatic oil is extracted from the plant, the pressure in the chamber is lowered. This returns the carbon dioxide back to its gas state and allows it to completely dissipate, leaving us with our pure cardamom CO₂ extract.
To transform a concrete [the wax-like substance from the solvent extraction phase] into a fully soluble absolute, a process called alcohol extraction is used. This is the final step of extraction for jasmine sambac absolute and rose absolute. Benzoin goes through this step as well.
The alcohol extraction method ↓
The ‘concrete’ is melted by a water bath and dissolved in ethyl alcohol.
It is then stirred for an hour in an apparatus called a batteuse, which results in liquid being separated from insoluble wax.
The insoluble wax is removed, and the liquid is cooled.
The process is repeated once again to remove any remaining insoluble wax.
Finally, the liquid is heated at a low temperature to remove alcohol, leaving us with our absolutes of rose, jasmine sambac, and benzoin.
Solvent extraction is commonly used for flowers that are quite delicate. We use this process combined with alcohol extraction to extract our jasmine absolute sambac, and
The solvent extraction method ↓
Flowers are loaded into an extractor, which looks like an empty bird cage with shelves, and a rotating drum.
A solvent is added to the extractor, which ‘washes’ through the flowers by the rotating drum (think a washing machine without the water!), and draws out the flowers’ fragrant components.
The flowers go through 3 ‘wash’ cycles with additional solvent pumped into the extractor after each wash.
After the 3 ‘washes,’ the now fragrant solvent is filtered and pumped into a concentrator. It’s then heated to 60°C, which allows the solvent to slowly start evaporating.
The resulting substance is transferred to an evaporator, where it is again heated at a low temperature to get rid any remaining traces of solvent.
This results in what’s called a concrete, a wax-like substance that solidifies at room temperature.
Some perfumers might use a concrete at this waxy consistency, but we transform it into an absolute using a process called alcohol extraction.
Why we exist
We're the home of guilt-free fragrances. We know that natural ingredients are incredibly special but are often grown and harvested at a cost to the environment. At Coéo we believe that real relaxation is only possible when you know your choices aren’t harming the planet. That's why we do things a little differently. Our essential oils are responsibly sourced, vegan and fully traceable. They do no wrong, and of course they smell incredible. Expertly blended to match your mood, they will show you the true meaning of relaxation. So choose Coéo. Go guilt-free. And truly relax.