Coffee in Cold Process Soap 2

Coffee lovers are everywhere, and they are passionate about those ground beans. Today let’s take a look at some ways to incorporate our favorite brew into cold process soap. There are many ways to use coffee in soap!

Use strong brewed coffee instead of water for your lye solution. (Make your coffee in advance so it’s cool when you add the lye.) Be prepared for your lye solution to have a very strong smell, and it will carry over into the soap. Don’t worry; the unpleasant part of the smell will fade in a few days.

Try adding instant coffee to your lye solution to create a coffee-based lye solution. I love this idea because it means I can make coffee soap on the spur of the moment instead of having to plan ahead to have cooled coffee ready to use in my lye solution.

For an exfoliating soap, add up to 1 tablespoon coffee grounds per pound of oils. Add the coffee grounds after blending the soap batter to a thin trace. The coarser the grind, the more exfoliating the soap will be. My personal choice is using an espresso grind. It’s a very mildly exfoliating soap.

Another quick way to make a coffee-based lye solution is to add coffee grounds to your lye solution while it’s still hot. This will brew the coffee and allow you to make an exfoliating soap at the same time.

Use our Coffee Oil or Coffee Butter in your soap formula. Both of these can be used in small amounts to have a nice impact on your finished bars.

Don’t forget a great coffee fragrance oil! My favorite is Java Java, but it is not currently available as we are in the process of reformulating that fragrance. It will return shortly!

Add Chocolate Mousse Fragrance Oil to create a mocha soap

Vanilla Cream Fragrance Oil and Coffee Oil makes your soap smell like a vanilla latte. You can play around with other fragrances to combine with Coffee Oil. I’m thinking of Raspberry, Intense Almond, Frosted Cupcakes, Gingerbread and Spice, Butter Toffee, Coconut Cream, and of course, Pumpkin Spice!

Let’s make some soap. I’m going to try the instant coffee method fragranced with Gingerbread and Spice. Join me in the workroom!

What You’ll Need


Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Coffee Butter
Distilled Water
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Instant Coffee
Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil


Soap Bucket
Stick Blender
Silicone Spatula
Soap Mold of choice
Container for lye solution


37.5% Soybean Oil
25% Olive Oil
15.63% Coconut Oil
15.62% Palm Kernel Oil
6.25% Coffee Butter
Q.S. Distilled Water (use Lye Calculator)
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (use Lye Calculator)
Q.S. Instant Coffee (use amount needed to make
a strong brew with water needed for recipe)
Q.S. Fragrance Oil (use Fragrance Calculator)

1-pound Test Batch

6 ounces Soybean Oil
4 ounces Olive Oil
2.5 ounces Coconut Oil
2.5 ounces Palm Kernel Oil
1 ounce Coffee Butter
8 ounces Distilled Water
2.23 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (6% superfat)
1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso powder
0.5 ounce Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil


Before getting started, please prepare to soap safely! Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and close-toed shoes are a must. If you have never made cold process soap before, we’re glad you’re here! Please check out this blog post, which is the first in a series on beginning soapmaking.

Weigh all the oils into a microwave-safe container; set aside.

Weigh the fragrance oil into a small glass container; set aside.

Weigh the lye.

Weigh the water.

Slowly add the lye to the water, stirring. Do this in a well-ventilated area. It will give off toxic fumes that you do not want to inhale. Once the lye is completely dissolved, add the instant coffee, stirring to dissolve. Set aside to cool.

Pop the oils into the microwave to melt, using 30-second increments. Once they are completely liquid, set them aside to cool.

Oils before melting.

Adding instant coffee to the hot lye solution.

Here is your break to clean up your work space, set out the mold you will use, visit the rest room. Once the oils and the lye mixture are within 10 degrees of each other and have cooled to about 100 degrees F, you’re ready to make soap.

Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils, taking care not to splash. Stir with your soap spoon, then pulse the stick blender several times to emulsify the soap batter. Once I liked the texture of the soap batter, I removed my stick blender and hand-stirred the fragrance oil into the batter.

Adding cooled lye solution to cooled oils.

Stick blending the soap.

I used our 1-pound Tall & Skinny silicone mold for this batch. After pouring the soap batter into the mold, I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the oven (which had been preheated to 170ºF then turned off). The soap stayed in the oven for about 12 hours to force a uniform gel phase.

I left the soap in the mold for 48 hours to make sure it was nice and hard before trying to unmold and cut it.

Pouring soap into the mold.

Newly cut bars of Gingerbread Latte soap.


I was surprised when I added the instant coffee to the lye solution, because it smelled like coffee, not the unpleasant smell I’m used to when I mix lye with brewed coffee. Interesting!

The soap took several days to harden enough to unmold; it stayed fairly soft. I don’t think the coffee had anything to do with that. Most likely the oils I chose and the fact that it’s cool this time of year.

It lathers surprisingly well for a very fresh bar of soap that still feels a bit oily!

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About Denise

I'm a crazy goat lady who got into making my own soap with goat milk, found MMS to order supplies, and now I get to combine my love of creating skin care products with a job to pay the feed bill. I live in Alaska and greatly enjoy the unique aspects of my northern home - summer days when it never gets dark and the Northern Lights dancing above in winter. Favorite scents include Wild Mint and Ivy, Rhubarb & Sugar Cane, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

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2 thoughts on “Coffee in Cold Process Soap

  • Jennifer Gale

    I like to use cold brew coffee as my soaping liquid, add coffee grounds, and whole beans on top for decoration. It comes out a gorgeous rich dark brown, with a fabulous scent without adding additional color or fragrance!

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