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.”