Multipurpose cohort studies have demonstrated that coffee consumption reduces the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Given that one of the main causes of HCC is hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we examined the effect of caffeic acid, a major organic acid derived from coffee, on the propagation of HCV using an in vitro naïve HCV particle-infection and production system within human hepatoma-derived Huh-7.5.1-8 cells. When cells were treated with 1% coffee extract or 0.1% caffeic acid for 1-h post HCV infection, the amount of HCV particles released into the medium at 3 and 4 days post-infection considerably decreased. In addition, HCV-infected cells cultured with 0.001% caffeic acid for 4 days, also released less HCV particles into the medium. Caffeic acid treatment inhibited the initial stage of HCV infection (i.e., between virion entry and the translation of the RNA genome) in both HCV genotypes 1b and 2a. These results suggest that the treatment of cells with caffeic acid may inhibit HCV propagation.