I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to cover my body in coffee.
If you’ve got a half-finished pot, some spent grounds, and a basic understanding of safe soap-making procedures, then you’ll love this recipe.
Ingredients (by weight):
15 oz (425g) Olive Oil
15 oz (425g) Coconut Oil
12.9 oz (364.3g) Coffee
4.5 oz (131.5g) Lye (sodium hydroxide)
½ cup Used Coffee Grounds
First, measure and heat your oils on the stove until they reach about 170°F (77°C). Next, in a well-ventilated area, slowly add your pre-measured lye to your coffee. (Note: Lye does not play well with aluminum, so pay attention to what material your containers are.)
The lye-coffee solution will get hot. Really hot. Simultaneously, your oils are cooling. I find the best temp to combine them is when they both hover around 150°F (65°C). Add your lye solution to the oils, and not the other way around. Then blend with a stick blender for around 7-10 minutes, or until everything takes on the consistency of custard. Or, in soap-making terms: a thick trace. Now you’re good to add your used coffee grounds.
When everything’s fully blended, pour your soap into pre-prepared moulds, then cover up with a few blankets to keep your soap as warm as possible, as long as possible. Let things saponify for the next 24-48 hours.
Note: the acidity of the coffee can throw off the chemistry a bit of the very alkaline lye, which — for me — has resulted in half-saponified batches at the end of 24-48 hours. If this happens to you, just toss everything into a crock pot and melt it all down to re-batch. (Kind of a pain in the ass, but not really.) Then pour into fresh moulds and wait another 24 hours before uncovering and cutting.
Finally, cut your soap into bars and leave out to harden for 2 or more weeks. And poof: coffee soap!
What’s so great about coffee soap? Well, for starters, it’s naturally deodorizing. And if you opted for that half-cup scoop of coffee grounds, it’s also a great gentle exfoliator. (Goodbye, microbeads!) The equal blend of olive and coconut oils combines the strengths of both: the olive oil helps moisturize while the coconut oil makes for harder bars with a great lather.
Best of all, you’ll have the coolest-looking soap around. And when house guests take a shower at your place and go, “What the hell is that?,” you can casually respond: “Oh, just a bar of HOMEMADE COFFEE SOAP I MADE WITH MY OWN BARE HANDS.”
Reblogged this on Feeorin Woods Wines and Cheeses and commented:
I made this last night and it worked! I un-molded and cut into bars tonight. I was SO excited! Especially because I was terribly afraid it wouldn’t set and I’d have to re-batch- I’ve made soap several times before but am by no means an expert. I can’t wait to try it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. One question- how long do you cure this before using? Thanks a bunch!
Glad to hear it. 🙂 For this recipe, it should take about 2 weeks to cure. Typically olive-oil-only soaps need a little more time, but with the coconut oil, I say take your first bar into the shower in 2 weeks, and if it feels a little underdone, give the rest of the batch another week.
Just thought I would share my experience with making coffee soap… And help stress the point of making sure that whatever liquid you are using to mix with the lye needs to be at a cooler temperature -So plz don’t use hot coffee from a just brewed batch – like I did!! I was too impatient!! The coffee was way too hot. So yes we had an instant coffee/lye volcano!! 😳 Thankfully I had it in the sink so we were safe. I’m sure if I would’ve just put it in an ice bath I would’ve been OK
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OMG! I am sooooooo stoked. I have been looking for a simple recipe for coffee soap for months. This one is right up my alley. I am relatively new to soap making. The fewer the ingredients, the better for me until I become more comfortable with the process. Thank you 😊
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Did you not add water at all? Am new to this .. also see you using plastic container here in the picture.
Hi, Mary. No, I only used coffee for this. (Plenty of water there – especially if you make it weak like diner coffee.) If you’re new to soapmaking, I’d definitely recommend familiarizing yourself with the process, especially before attempting coffee soap. (The acidity of the coffee definitely makes this more challenging than pure-water castile.) I always mix my lye solution in a stainless steel bowl and pour it into my oil when they’re both hovering around the same temp. The oils are what’s waiting in the plastic bucket you saw in the photo, but even though many plastics are strong enough to withstand contact with lye, I’d still recommend stainless steel until that final blend stage. (Better safe than sorry, I figure.) Also, the Crafty Gemini on YouTube has a great 10-minute video on soapmaking. Really informative overview, especially if you’re just getting into this. 😉
Thanks! mate, I love your blog, so looking forward to make some stuff for my hubby 🙂 am so new to soap making .. though tried only M&P now, but love it.
hi! I was just crunching the numbers from your recipe in a lye calculator, and for a bar with 5% superfat using the amounts of oil you used, you should only need 125g lye and 280g liquid. You’ve used quite a bit more than this so I was just wondering what superfat you calculated this at? thanks 🙂
Hi, Rach. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve been using an app called “Soap Calc” that’s helped me figure out the exact proportions of things. Next go round, I may give your amounts a try and see if that makes any difference. Thanks!
Hi! Can I know the Amount of distilled water used to make the coffe mixture before adding the lye? I don’t have a machine and I’d like to use freshly grounded black coffee powder. Btw I’m from Sri Lanka and new to soap making Thank you in advance
Ah. I didn’t pre-measure my water for the coffee; I simply made coffee and then added a measured amount of the finished product to this recipe. If you don’t have a coffee machine, you could try steeping/infusing the grounds in a jar or large bowl, then straining it out as you would tea or anything else. (Although, I will say, if you’re new to soapmaking, given the additional layer of chemical-interactions that coffee creates versus plain water, I’d recommend you start with a simple castile recipe before trying this. But that’s just me.) Good luck!
Hi, am back 🙂
could you calculate this into a smaller batch for me 16oz 🙂 another question can I use the normal coffee like Nescafe etc for this? and do I need to mix the coffee in distilled water?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi, Mary. Welcome back. 🙂 A great resource for calculating custom batch sizes is an app called “Soap Calc.” It takes into consideration all the various properties of common fats and oils and tells you precisely what amounts you’ll need of what to yield finished soap. It’s a great tool to have when you find yourself with a 14oz jar of coconut oil when your recipe calls for a 15oz jar. As for Nescafé, I can’t say for certain. I much prefer brewing proper coffee for this recipe, rather than adding “beverage powder” to water.
Is the lye a liquide or beads in this recipe; am making for Christmas gifts; also….do you have ideas how to make this with EO for a “musky” or cigar scent too! Thx, Cindy
Hiya, Cindy. The lye I used was in a dry, crystalline form and measured by weight. Now, musky cigar scents, huh? It’s all very personal but there are plenty of “manleh” scent profiles out there. Bergamot or black pepper or sandalwood…. But I’d actually recommend you do is check out a soap company called Duke Cannon and browse the EO combinations they use in their line. I guarantee you’ll be inspired.
Does the soap end up smelling like coffee?
I made aloe soap, used fresh aloe vera and it turned out orange with a different smell altogether. Im guessing the lye changed all the dynamics
Yeah, the lye changes just about EVERY dynamic, do I’ve learned. Just about nothing survives the initial lye stage, which is why scents and oils are added *after saponification. (And even then, some eo’s like citrus *still can’t survive.) So, no, it didn’t smell like coffee afterwards, but did have this *super earthy, kinda delicious quality, like fresh bread.
As i am a barista I used shots of coffee totalling 364.3 gms so when i combined with lye it turned very thick fast. Do you think i should have watered it down more?
It has been 48 hrs and the bars are solid but lots of air bubbles i think due to the thick mixture?
That’s entirely possible. I used filter coffee, which was very mellow by comparison – and I noticed that the acidity of the coffee definitely affected saponification, so I would believe you that coffee shots altered the process even more. This may be a recipe better suited for hot-process soapmaking, especially for anyone trying it for the first time.
Hey I am making this soap … the color is not what it looks like in the picture- it’s more tan with specks of coffee grounds. I think I need to rebatch it. Everything has set but the coffee/ hopefully if I melt it down everything will set – anyone know if I’m on the right track ?