Time: 1 1/2 hrs
Yields: 1200 g soap or approximately 10 bars
My kitchen coffee soap is one of my first soaps I created decades ago and is still one of my most used soaps in our house. I usually make them as bars, but when I discovered this cool coffee bean shaped mould, I knew they would be perfect for my coffee soaps.
The reason I’m such a huge fan of this soap is that it’s perfect for in the kitchen. It contains a whole lot of coffee. Like a WHOLE LOT. Why? Because coffee is a deodoriser, which means it gets rid of yucky smells – like fish, garlic, onion, and cheese. I learned about coffee when I was training to be an aromatherapist and we’d use coffee to clear our noses between sniffing essential oils. I also found out that coffee is used in the perfume industry for the same reason, as well as wine tasters/sniffers, who do the same. So coffee is the number one ingredient in this soap. The soap contains freshly brewed coffee as well as the coffee grounds. I’ve left them in the soap to give it a bit of a scrubby texture. To compliment the coffee and boost its properties, I’ve added a special blend of essential oils: orange, lemongrass, cinnamon, thyme and clove. This is a blend that cleanses, deodorised and has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties – just what you need in a kitchen soap!
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
If you have never made cold-process soap before, I do strongly recommend you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.
ONE: Boil some water in a kettle, and then weigh out the right amount of water in a heat proof jug. Add one heaped tablespoon of ground coffee and set it aside to cool down.
Once the coffee has cooled down to room temperature, add the caustic soda. The lye solution will go yucky with a very yucky smell, but don’t worry about it. It’s only temporary and you won’t smell it in your finished soap.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate, which will help harden the soap quicker and make it easier to unmould. I found this essential, because the first time I tried it without the sodium lactate using this mould, I couldn’t unmould it for weeks. Set the lye solution aside to cool down.
TWO: Next, weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter in a microwaveable jug or bowl, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted. Then add the other liquid oils and give everything a quick stir.
THREE: Let the oils cool for a bit and then add the essential oil blend. The reason we’re adding it before the lye is because the clove and cinnamon essential oils tend to accelerate the saponification process and makes your soap go thick fast, so to prevent this, we’re diluting the essential oils in the oil first.
FOUR: From this point on, you’ll have to work fast because of the acceleration. Once your lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils. Stick blend briefly for about 3-5 seconds, and then use a whisk to stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified and there are no more oil streaks visible. (Note I had to switch stick blenders during making these, because the first one decided it was time for retirement. RIP my faithful stick blender). The important thing here is to not over mix and not let it go too thick to pour!
FIVE: Once you’ve reached thin trace, quickly pour the soap into the individual cavities of the mould. As you can see in the picture below, my soap is already starting to thicken.
PS I got this mould from AliExpress, in case you were wondering!
SIX: Leave the soaps to cure for a couple of days before unmoulding. They should be nice and firm, otherwise you’ll leave dents in the soaps where you tried to push them out. If you look carefully in the picture below, you’ll see that some of the soaps have dents in them, because I didn’t wait long enough!
The soaps will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use. Because it’s a soap that you’ll use frequently in the kitchen and is likely to dry out only infrequently, a longer curing time is definitely recommended. So try and cure them as long as you can before using or selling them.
- 175 g olive oil
- 125 g coconut oil
- 50 g shea butter
- 50 g avocado oil
- 75 g canola oil
- 25 castor oil
- 69 g caustic soda
- 140 g water
- 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate
- 1 heaped tablespoon of ground coffee beans
- 15 ml sweet orange essential oil
- 8 ml lemongrass essential oil
- 3 ml cinnamon essential oil
- 2 ml clove essential oil
- 2 ml thyme essential oil
- Bring some water to boil and weigh out 140 grams into a heatproof jug or bowl. Stir in one heaped tablespoon of (freshly) ground coffee beans, and set aside to cool down to room temperature.
- Add the caustic soda to the now cold coffee and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved.
- Add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate to the coffee/lye solution and set aside to cool down.
- Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
- Add the olive, avocado, canola and castor oils to the melted coconut oil and shea butter.
- And then, add the essential oils to the oils and give everything a good stir.
- Check if the coffee/lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified and at thin trace. Careful, the essential oils can accelerate the soap process!
- Pour the soap carefully into the cavities of the mould.
- Leave the soap to cure a couple of days before unmoulding. You want the soap to be very firm and hard, so that you don’t leave any dents in the soap when unmoulding. The individual soaps will need to cure for at least a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, please consider donating a coffee, or a flat white as we call it here in New Zealand! This website is only possible due to my coffee consumption and early morning starts.