Ionic liquids increase the solubility of various coffee ingredients in aqueous solution but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Kirkwood-Buff integrals as well as the potential of mean force indicate that the imidazolium cations are accumulated at the surface of the solutes, removing water molecules from the solute surface. Although hydrogen bonding of the anions to hydroxy groups of the solutes can be detected, their concentration at the surface is less enhanced compared to the cations. The decomposition into solvation shells by Voronoi tessellation reveals that structural features are only observed in the first solvation shell. Nevertheless, the depletion of water and the excess concentration of the ions and, in particular, of the cations are visible in the next solvation shells as well. Therefore, classical arguments of hydrotropic theory fail to explain this behavior.

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