Distilling Coriander in a Copper Alembic

Distilling Coriander in a Copper Alembic

hello everybody this is Ariane Arsenault
from La Fille de la Mer and today I’m not making soap, I am going to show you the
process of distilling some fresh coriander that is freshly picked from
my garden. I have a beautiful copper still, this one is a 10 L column rotating
Alembic and I got it from Candles and Supplies from Cindy Rumpf Novack and I’ve
been using it quite a lot since I got it this summer and I want to share this
process with you, as I did show a couple pictures and people are really
interested! Now I am NOT a specialist at distilling plants, herbs and botanicals
but I’m having a lot of fun doing it, I am learning so many things and I want to
share that with you. I have this great book called Harvest to Hydrosol by Ann
Harman and this is where I got most of the information on how to distill and
also Cindy from Candles and Supplies has guided me and helped me a lot. So let’s
get to the first step of distilling some botanicals. This is the first batch of
coriander that I’ve distilled this summer so what we did this morning we
just cut the green seeds from the garden and we cleaned them out and what we’re
gonna do now is we are going to put them in a stockpot with warm water because of
the waxy outside of the coriander seeds they need to be pre soaked in a warm
distilled water for 24 hours before distillation. If you could be here and
smell the hydrosol, coriander has a very sweet green and kind of a zesty lemony
scent. It smells so great and I’m gonna be using it to make some coriander soap!
Let’s take apart the copper still: This is the head and the gooseneck and
here is the column so we’re gonna open this up and here is the pot. It is
where the herbs are going to go with the warm water and you can use this
alembic to do a hydro distillation meaning that the herbs and botanicals
will be in the water, you can also do a steam distillation using this part of
the still and the water being in the bottom or you can do a combo: so a hydro
and a steam distillation at once. Now for the coriander I’m only going to be using
the pot and the hydro so I’m not going to be using the column and I’m actually
going to be closing it just like so and then connecting it to the condenser this
will be filled with cold water that will allow the steam to go through the
gooseneck and then cooling down making the gas go back to liquid state and we
will collect the hydrosoul from ithis part. So here we go, with the Alembic on a
scale and I tared my scale and I will start to introduce the coriander into the still
and it’s only the green seeds and some leaves and the stems but that’s
all that is going in. I’ve cut off all of the roots and everything else from the plant and I know that I have about a kilo of
coriander and I’m gonna fit into this still I already have 536 grams for my first bowl and let’s go ahead with the second bowl We have 1198 grams of coriander and I
will add a three-to-one ratio of distilled water to the alembic. Here
is my warm distilled water I’m going to pour it on top of the cilantro or…
the coriander because cilantro are actually the green leaves and the
coriander are the seeds. So I’m pouring this over my coriander and I’m just
gonna close it up and let it soak for 24 hours. I will be back tomorrow to distill! It has been 24 hours and the coriander has been soaking in the water and it’s
now ready to distill so here’s my setup I have removed the column from the
Alembic. I have also sealed with teflon tape right here and right here, my pipes
so that none of the steam escapes before actually being transferred from the
condenser into my collecting recipient. How this works is that the pot will
boil, the temperature will rise and steam will be collected here through the head,
it will go through the gooseneck and when it goes back down into the
condenser; this is cold water, it will go from steam to liquid and the hydrosol
will come out right here. Now this needs to be kept at a cooler temperature than
the steams so that it goes from being a gas to being a liquid or steam.
I have my little setup here so I have two pipes so this one is hooked to a
little aquarium pump with a flow valve that will adjust the speed of the water going
up so water is going up this way and then out this way and then we will keep
recycling the same water for the whole process. It will always
be cooler than the steam. Also one thing to have on hand is a distillation log
and this one was provided to me by Cindy from Candles and Supplies so I’ve got
all of my information in here and it’s important to take notes so that you have
everything you need. After doing your distillation you have all of your
information correct and then as I distill I will note the time and then my total
yield I will fill up this part as I go. Let’s fire up this alembic! I can hear a rolling boil in the pot
from this alembic and from the thermometer you can see that it is at 70
degrees Celsius so the bottom of course is boiling but here it’s not as hot yet
so I can still touch it, with short, shortly without burning myself but it’s
getting really hot and I’m thinking that the steam is gonna start to go through
the condenser very soon… oh! It is! See? We have our first drops! So when this
happens so it’s 10:29 am so I’m gonna note the time so we have the first drops
of hydrosol that are exiting, they just like literally… I started filming they weren’t
coming out and now they are! so I’m gonna now plug in my little aquarium pump so
that we get this fresh water rolling and that we don’t overheat the condenser. I
really like this little pump it is very very quiet for a pump so you can see the
water is going up. I just need to adjust whoops! I need to adjust so that the
water flow goes in at the same rate and it’s going out and just so
you know the water that is in the condenser is just cold tap water it will
never be in contact with the hydrosol. the hydrosol is made with distilled
water while the condenser is just cool water from the tap. okay and you can see
that it’s steaming so it’s getting hot! and that’s why it’s important to have
the cold water coming in from the bottom so the heat rises up and then the hot
water exits right here. Here we have the tube where the
hydrosol is exiting so I have this little fine mesh strainer just in case
there would be any particulates coming up with the steam so that they get
caught up in there and they don’t end up in the hydrosol. It’s also a very hmm
magical moment as this is also when all of the beautiful aroma from the hydrosol
starts to fill up the room! Coriander’s smells really green, it
smells really fresh and zesty. I really love this herb. All of our hydrosols are
bottled in glass clear bottles and we keep them in the fridge at cool
temperature and away from direct sunlight. The whole process of distilling
this hydrosol took a little over an hour and a half and I’m now going to
show you the finished product. Here is 2 litres of beautiful hydrosol. Of
course there’s essential oil floating on top but I’m not gonna bother separating the
essential oil from the hydrosol because I made such a small quantity that I
would have… I don’t know… like not even 5 ml of essential oil so I’m just
gonna bottle it and leave it in with the hydrosol. I have these two glass
containers that I really like to bottle hydrosol. This one is a 750 ml
and the other one is a 2 litres so we’re gonna be using the big one but for
smaller quantities I really like this one. Both were purchased from SKS bottles in
the US and I clean them with 70% grain alcohol and let them dry upside down
before storing any hydrosol in them. I will now label these so that I
remember the date they were made. I will also write the lot number on the label
that is corresponding to my distillation log sample and now I need to disassemble
the Alembic to clean it out! And because I have some warm water in there from
recycling my water, the water from the distillation that was used for the
condenser is now really hot and I’m gonna be able to reuse this water to
clean out my Alembic using hot soapy water and then I’m gonna do an alcohol
rinse in everything, everything is gonna be rinsed with alcohol, dried up, sealed
up and ready to go again! I’ve added the label to this beautiful hydrosol. I
will now put it in the fridge so that it stays good for a long time, usually the
shelf life of a hydrosol kept in the fridge is about one year. We don’t use
any preservatives in those until we use them in our products either soap, creams
emulsions or other cosmetics. If you would like to learn more about making hydrosols and using a copper alembic I highly recommend that you get Ann Harman’s
book: Harvest to Hydrosol. You can also, if you’re in the Pennsylvania area and are
near Candles and Supplies, I’m sure Cindy would be happy to let you know her
schedule for distilling classes and she also sells the alembics so you can get
one! I didn’t take a private class with her but she has guided me using this
alembic and getting my setup perfect so that I would be able to distil at home
and we are at thousands of kilometres away so it’s really something that is possible! I
hope you’ve enjoyed this video, thanks for watching! If you have any
questions please leave them down below in the comment section and I will see
you again very soon


  1. C'est autorisé par santé Canada et l'ordre des chimistes ? Ça fait des mois que j'hésite a extraire les huiles pour mes produits mais que j'hésite =x
    En France j'utilisais une extraction au CO2 en phase supercritique ça produisait des huiles incroyablement odorante ^^

  2. Love it, I use natural items from my land and this is the incentive I needed to make plunge and get a distillery, thank you so much.

  3. This is so interesting! Thank you for sharing your process. I don't make soap or anything except my own cbd, topical cream for personal use, but I do enjoy watching your videos.

  4. Hello Ariana, thank you for explaining the hydrosol distilling. I can’t wait to get one. I have a question have you geared of chaga. Someone who harvests it up in the Adirondacks which is 1 hour north of me had contacted me to make soap from it for wholesale for her.

  5. Chaga is a fungus which grows on yellow birch trees and is high in antioxidants and vitamins. I was wondering if you have heared of it and if you would have any suggestions to making soap out of it.

  6. Hey Ariane! I just love watching the distillation process…so cool! ; ) The copper Alembic is so attractive too. What are the skin benefits of the coriander? So interesting…love it! Have a great weekend. Big ((Hugs)) and Love from Texas!! xo : )

  7. Thanks for sharing this, I too love the smell if coriander- it's so uplifting! When you make soap with your hydrosols, do you use it in place of water in your lye solution? If so, does the scent survive the heat & pH from the lye? Does it discolor? I'm sorry if the answers to my questions are in another video I may have missed. Thank you again!

  8. Yes, what is missing here is the "smell-o-vision"! That was very interesting, and I have often thought of doing this myself. We have an entire shelter belt of sea buckthorn, and every fall it hurts my heart to see it all just go to waste. I think I should show this video to my hubby.

  9. I loved watching this video! How does this process differ from creating an essential oil? When used in CP soap, do you find hydrosols or essential oils tend to stick around longer?

  10. Hi ariane im from kuwait 🇰🇼. I like your hand made soap Because you are very simple explanation and always smiling. I learned a lot from you.

  11. Great video. I learned a lot today. I am planning to buy an alembic still. I found a UK seller on Ebay at reasonable prices. I am a hobby soapmaker and I also make creams, scrubs and lip balms. I have watched loads of your soapmaking videos and learned so much . Thanks again.

  12. I Love your videos!! I have a question. I am pretty new to cold process. I have done rebatch in the past and I am having trouble with adding EO's and or fragrance. So far every time I add in the EO's my batch thickens up soooo fast I can hardly get in a loaf pan fast enough. What am I doing wrong?

  13. This made me smile because I live just a few miles from "Candles and Supplies" where I buy most of my soaping supplies. I would love a still. They are quite expensive. So, I need to learn more before I consider investing in a still. By the way which size is this still? (I just went to the website and Cindy does offer classes!)

  14. Hello Arianne, first thank you for your publication. I loved. I would like very much to get the book you are talking about but here in Spain I have not been able to find it. Could you send it to me please? I would make the payment for transfer. You would do me a great favor ..

  15. I loved your video, I just bought my first distiller and am fumbling around with it. I like your distiller a whole lot! I made a batch of cinnamon hydrosol, when I was trying to make cinnamon oil, but don't quite have all the necessary components yet…

  16. What a fantastic and interesting video !! In my heart I would love to do all of these things, but I know realistically I never will. Watching you was like watching my dream life in an alternative universe. I only wish we had a way to smell what was going on !! Thank you for sharing !

  17. Hello! Whats the capacity of your Distiller? Its beautiful looks exactly like the one from Portugal I am planing to buy.

  18. A question, your stove is it just electric or induction. It is just that copper and induction do not work well. Please if you can clarify, thank you

  19. Thank you so much for sharing the detailed processes of making Hydrosol. I have learned a lot today! I have a question that is there any rule of the ratio of herb and distilled water? Or always 1/3 of the copper size??

    I really love this video!! 🙂

  20. I never get tried of watching this video of your still. As I've said before this is my all time favorite device that you have in your soaping kitchen! LOVE IT!

  21. Hi
    I have a question.
    How to separate essential oil from water after distillation?
    For example Geranium, davana, lemon grass.

  22. Hi! May you please provide the link to where you got the flow tubes from? Eye have a 5L alembic and am in need of tubes for it. Warmest regards,

  23. Great video! The book you suggest seems to be out of print. I would love one, do you have a suggestion where to buy? Thanks for your great information.

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