Have you ever had something that every time you used it you said (or thought) to yourself “aww yeah, this is the stuff”?
That’s how I feel when I use this soap.
It’s mild, it’s soft, it’s invigorating, and it’s not your average soap bar.
It’s SO much more than that.
It’s all the comforts of your favorite cup of coffee in a bar of soap.
But that shouldn’t be intimidating. Far from it! This is one of the simplest, easiest homemade soap recipes you will ever make!
Here’s a few things you should know about my soap recipes:
I like to keep things simple, and for that reason, I tend to use very basic fats. Different fats have a different affect on your final bar. Some make it soft, some make it hard, others make a frothy lather, or a stable lather.
That said, the saponification process chemically changes the oil into something completely different. That was a tough pill for me to swallow when I first learned about the different affects the different oils had, and that I would need to add corn or soy oil to my soap bars to counteract the hardness of the coconut oil in them.
Up until that point, I had been avoiding industrial cooking oils (soy, corn, canola) like a plague.
But soaping up with a saponified oil is far different from ingesting the raw oil, and so, my family benefits from a far softer bar of soap.
So having mentioned the soy, and coconut oils, the other main oil I use is olive oil.
An important thing to note about using coconut and olive oils in soap making, is that you don’t actually need to use the highest quality, most expensive oil on the market. Actually, the second pressing olive oil makes a higher quality bar than extra virgin, as does expeller pressed coconut oil. (You can read all about the best oils for soap making in the book The Soapmaker’s Companion)
The other two ingredients in this soap recipe are pretty obvious – you need coffee, to make it coffee soap, and lye to make, well, to make it soap.
So here goes!
Homemade Coffee Scrub Soap Recipe
- 6 oz of hot spring/purified water
- 1 teaspoon coffee grounds
- 2 oz lye
- 5 oz coconut oil
- 5 oz olive oil
- 6 oz soybean oil (also known as vegetable oil)
- Tip: you will want a digital read out food scale for the most accurate results as using liquid measuring cups results in varying results)
- Mix coffee ground in water to make coffee and allow to cool
- Mix lye and coffee together until lye beads or crystals have dissolved
- Allow to cool again to between 120-130º (a great tool for instantly measuring your soaping temperatures is an infrared instant read thermometer)
- Combine oils and heat to about 120º as well
- When all your ingredients are relatively close in temperature, it’s time to mix them together!
- You can either mix vigorously with a spoon for as long as 45 minutes, or use a stick blender to pulse and stir – which should take about 5-6 minutes
- Either way, store until your soap mixture reaches a trace (you can read more about soap tracing here)
- Pour into molds, and cover
- Set your soap away in a safe place for a few days to let it set up and harden.
- After that, you can unfold your soap, and cut it into bars if you used a loaf type mold
- Put your soap back away in a safe place, and continue to let it cure for three weeks.
- That’s it! After three weeks, you soap is ready to use.
- Note: This is a cold process soap making method. You can read instructions here on how to make hot process soap, which can be used right away here (you can use these ingredients in place of the ones called for).
Recipes everyone can make!
Nourish your body with ingredients you already have in your kitchen!
I love this recipe! So simple yet so perfect! I would, however, recommend getting soap making supplies from Bulk Apothecary. They are just such high quality. bulkapothecary.com/categories/soap-making-supplies.html
Sarah Harpe says
Thanks for sharing. This looks amazing! Do you know if I could replace rendered lard for the soybean oil? I have never made soap before so this is all new but would love to try your recipe. I just finished rendering a lot of lard and would be thrilled if I could put it to use in this recipe. Thanks!
I don’t have my book in front of me (sorry! I’m out of town), and it’s been a long time since I made soap with just lard, so I don’t remember the characteristics of lard-based soap, but…
YES, you can substitute lard. I typically use some olive and soybean oil to counteract the way coconut oil gives you such a hard bar, but it’s not a necessity.
Lisa Vanvorous says
I made this recipe with chocolate powder. Same soap, but dark. I didn’t use coffee, but plan to with my next batch. I’ve found, like you, I prefer the less expensive oils, my favorite is sunflower.
My favorite soap to date.
Thanks for sharing! My husband is allergic to sunflower, so I don’t personally use it, but that’s a great tip! 🙂
Dawn Alsept says
Hi there, I am a fellow blogger and I am creating a roundup of soap recipes for my followers, I wanted to include this recipe with linkbacks to your site, if you would prefer I did not please let me know, otherwise you should be receiving some traffic from http://www.incidentalfarmgirl.com
I really feel strongly that all soap recipes that include lye as an ingredient should have important information on how to handle lye safely. This recipe doesn’t talk about the hazards or even fatal reactions that lye can have with skin or aluminum! There’s no warning, handling tips or even a hint about what types of vessels to use!
Jane Smith says
Hi Elise. I’m going to try this recipe it looks great. I can’t seem to find soy bean oil, can you recommend a different oil I can replace this with?
Hi Jane, soybean oil is often marketed as “vegatable oil” and is usually in the baking/cooking aisle in grocery stores.
That said, corn, canola oil, or lard are also great substitutes.
Can you recommend any substitution for the coconut oil?
This might help: How To Substitute oil in Cold Processed Soap.
Also, The Soap Maker’s Companion has a section on what results you get with various oils, plus TONS of other information.
I am super excited to try this cold process recipe, my first venture into CP. I do have a question for you though. After making the coffee, do you keep the grounds in when making the lye solution or do you remove them and add them back in at trace?
You can do it either way. If there’s already coffee brewed, then I will mix the coffee and lye, and wait to add the grounds until the trace. If not, I will mix the coffee as described in the recipe, and pour the grounds in with the coffee right from the get-go.
I make soap and I read your comments. You failed to mention that you need to run any recipe through a soap calculator before you make any soap to make sure your quanities are correct. You can’t just substitute any oil for another because different oils have different saponification values than others. Your cleansing on your soap is way high at 21.
Do you need to recover the soap once you have cut it?
Could you update the links to your ingredients? They’re all outdated and I can’t seem to find “second pressed olive oil.” Thanks!
Hi Amanda, I would use light tasting olive oil, expeller pressed olive oil. Any olive oil that isn’t extra virgin is going to be a second pressing. 🙂
Buy LYE(?), soybean oil, coconut oil, infrared thermometer, digital scale, soap molds – $100 or more? Or buy Ivory soap at Walmart – 10 bars for $3.97. Explain to me how homemade soap saves “a lot of money” (per the silly article on MSN).
$100 worth of soap making materials will make a loooooot of soap. Also, if you want to save money, don’t buy soap mold. Line muffin tins with silicon or even paper cupcake liners, use a milk jug or carton… anything that isn’t reactive and won’t leak. I have a few plastic $2 molds from Hobby Lobby, but mostly, I use a silicon bread pan.
Yes, your reasoning is correct, in the short-term. And, yes, Ivory IS Soap. But if you were to compare it to handmade soap by many other criteria (too many to go into here) the two are not comparable. Most importantly, handmade soap is moisturizing to the skin, as opposed to drying.
Because I know what’s in it. I love goat milk soap it’s not cheap in the stores.
I made this and opted for the hot process, my 1st time. I used the link you provided. The soap turned out very nice, with amazing lather…however, it doesn’t smell like coffee at all. Did it get lost in the hot process? Should I have added more coffee grounds at the end before pouring it into the mold? I’d love to give it another try.
Coffee on its own doesn’t lend much fragrance after the soap goes through the saponification process. You may be able to use espresso fragrance oil to make it smell more like coffee though. 🙂
That’s a great idea! I do love this recipe so much, and I’m definitely going to make it again. I mentioned the wonderful lather before but I should also say that the coffee grounds are wonderful for exfoliating. Delicate and not too abrassive.
Thanks so much for sharing and for responding to my comment.
Aye Aye Mon says
Hi, Thank you for the recipe. Can I add coffee grounds to lye water instead of making coffee first?
I’m looking and searching and digging for recipes Tuesday whey left over from goat milk cheese. Can I replace the water in your recipes with whey? Do you have a whey soap recipe?
I’ve never made soap with only whey, so I suppose you may want to find a more authoritative source, but I believe it would work just fine. 🙂
I am new to soap making and in all recipes that I’ve read it does not speak to how much or how many loaf molds you will need. I am fearful that I will pour into my loaf mold and the soap be 3″ high. Can you help me/us to understand if this recipe is intended to fill one loaf mold? How do we judge this when using other recipes?
So… this recipe totals 24 ounces of soap. I use a double batch (48 oz.), and use this mold: http://amzn.to/2em57YP
Would the use of goats ilk in the coffee scrub recipe instead of water work out fine
Yes. Typically when I make coffee soap using milk instead of water, I just add a teaspoon of instant coffee. LOVE the added creaminess!
Wow! This is great! Thank you for the information! I love your blog!
Can you use goat milk instead of water in this recipe?
David Oyler says
I used my stick blender for 15 minutes and it barely came to a trace. I poured it into the mold and I guess we’ll see what happens. Any ideas why it stayed so “thin?”
Hmmm, as long as it was a pudding – even a thin pudding – consistency, you should be fine. It could you had a water (coffee) excess, and/or your soap was at a low temperature, which takes longer to trace.
I made this soap and I truely love it! My grandkids say it tickles their hands and it’s their first choice hand soap! Thank You Elise!
I used this recipe but I doubled it. After tracing occurred and I poured it into the mold I added beam garnishes. I covered it and went back about 45 minutes later and the oils had separated and there’s is a big chunk of hard coffee in the bottom of the mold. What did I do wrong?
How much water to make the coffee?
You’ll put the coffee grounds in the 6oz of water.
I have a question can I switch the oils and will it turn out the same ? or do I have to use those specific oils for it to turn out the same way ?
You may want to use a lye calulator (http://soapcalc.net/calc/soapcalcwp.asp) to be sure. Different types of oils affect the hardness of your bar (i.e. coconut oil = harder bar, olive oil = softer), so it’s helpful to have a formula.
Bernice Lawson says
How much does this recipe make? I have a 5 lb loaf mold.
I made this soap the other day and used a lye calculator so I ended up adding 2.20 lye instead of the 2 oz.
I lined the top with coffee grounds.
It’s been sitting in the mold for 3 days and honestly it feels so soft I’m afraid I did it incorrectly.
Laura Lopez says
Is there a good substitute for soybean oil?
This was the recipe that made me want to try soap making for real with lye! It wasn’t my first batch because I didn’t have all the oils. It was probably my second and came to trace perfectly! I wanted to comment to help other newbies. I put extra coffee grounds in and it is too scratchy, stick with the recipe. I also tried smaller silicone individual molds and it was very sticky to unmold. Maybe try freezing them to unmold next time. Definitely there will be a next time! So mild and great creamy lather. Very nice soap. I tried another batch adding less grounds and coffee EO but the scent still isn’t strong. Maybe fragrance oil next time. I want the coffee smell to be as great as the soap is. Thank you for the recipe!
So glad you liked the recipe!
Just a note: if you use scent oil, that can cause your soap to seize up very quickly, so make sure you add it last second and pour it into the molds.
Heating the oils in the microwave?
yes, you can melt the oils in the microwave or over the stove. Whichever you prefer.
If you put it into individual molds , what do you suggest covering with ? Wax paper ok ?
I would cover the molds with a towel for insulation.
Emily Tisdale says
I am highly allergic to coconut…can a different oil be substituted?
You can use this lye calculator to calculate the volume of your replacement oil.
Can you make this recipe with fresh goat’s milk?
Yes, definitely! I like to make sure my fresh milk is icy so it turns less brown when I add the lye.
When using goats milk do you sub out the water for the milk?
Catherine scott says
Hi I made this soap 2 days ago and put the soap batter into a 6 cavity soap Mold it’s been over 48 hours and I’m still finding the bars a wee bit to soft to unmold yet is this typical for this soap to take a bit longer to harden I’ve made several different types of soap and have yet to wait longer than 24 hours to unmold thankyou !
Hmmm, maybe try popping them in the fridge for a few hours to firm them up? I find that plastic molds are particularly difficult to get soap out of since the sides tend to stay soft until they’ve had a chance to air-cure.
Is the coffee brewed or do you just soak the coffee in the water? Also do you strain out the grounds before you put the lye into the water then add the grounds into the oil mixture to blend?
Just mix the grounds in the hot water, and allow it to cool. I don’t strain out the grounds because I want them in my soap, but that’s a personal preference.
Ive heard some people make the coffee (using their coffee pots), taking the grounds and putting them in the oven. Didn’t catch for how long or how high though. I do apologize
How many bars of soaps did this produce?
Eliana Hernandez says
Yes, I wanted to know the same. How many pounds of soap is this for?
In an earlier post someone said 6 bars
Why are there ‘cross throughs’? Is there a substitution not shown here?
This looks so good! What a fun gift to make for friends or to enjoy yourself!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Lillypea McDonnell says
Hello and thank you for your recipe. I made this last week. I made it without using essential oils. I made 454g which made 6 bars. White spots appeared but I gouged 1 or 2 out in the hope that it wasn’t undissolved lye. My husband is the coffee lover, so after curing, he can use it.
I’m very new to soap making and am in awe of all the information available on the Internet. Many thanks for yours
Ah yes! Just what I need, coffee soap. ???? super excited to try this! Thank you for sharing!
Kathie Graves says
Could I switch out the soybean oil with melted lard?
Isn’t it interesting,that women feel the need to surround their identity around being a “wife”or “mom”,but men never does that(husband/dad).When they call themselves that they’re always implying they’re a housekeeper/caretaker,which is pretty backwards.
I have never made soap before. This is making me want to try.