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Espresso Soap

Make your own soap using finely ground coffee beans with these step-by-step instructions.

Project by Jenny Isaacs from Washington, D.C.

Jenny has always been linked to creativity and is an art director for a non-profit advertising agency. One day Jenny while walking through a bookstore, a book on soap making caught her eye. Once she had the book at home, she discovered that making soap is not only creative but also a very detailed and mathematical process. Being a very detail-oriented person, soap making became the perfect craft for her.


2 cups finely ground dark-roasted coffee beans
2 oz. grain alcohol
2 oz. coffee liqueur
25 oz. distilled water
12 oz. NaOH (lye)
28 oz. coconut oil
4 oz. cocoa butter
8 oz. lard
36 oz. pomace olive oil
4 oz. wheatgerm oil
5.6 oz sweet almond oil
rosemary oil extract
grapefruit seed oil
fragrance oils
coffee grinder
stainless steel, plastic or glass pitchers & bowls
latex gloves
eye protection
long-sleeved shirt
enamel pot
hand blender
mixing spoon
wooden molds
vegetable oil spray
self-adhesive shelf liner paper
postal scale
candy thermometer


1. Grind coffee beans and soak in grain alcohol/coffee liqueur.

2. Prepare molds by lining them with self-adhesive shelf liner paper and spray with vegetable oil.

3. Weigh out solid oils with postal scale and put into large pot.

4. Weigh lye and water with postal scale.

5. Make lye solution by pouring lye into water--slowly. Stir until dissolved.

Note: Be careful as it is not only very hot but also caustic at this stage!

6. Cool down to correct temperature; speed it up using a tub of ice water.

7. Melt solid oils in enamel stockpot for about 5 minutes.

8. Turn off heat. Add liquid oils. Add rosemary oil extract and grapefruit seed oil.

9. Let oils and lye reach 105 F degrees (measure with candy thermometer).

10. Slowly pour lye solution into oils, stirring constantly with hand mixer for about 10 minutes.

11. Continue stirring to light "trace" stage. This is when the consistency of your mix resembles that of the consistency of honey and you are able to dribble a little bit on the surface and it stays visible on the top for an instant.

12. Slowly stir in fragrance oil (soaked coffee grounds).

13. Pour into molds. Cover with cardboard or other insulating material so that it doesn't cool off too quickly.

14. Check it daily. When it feels firm (like cold cheddar cheese), cut it into bars. Leave to cure for three to six weeks. Stamp logo into each bar with zinc stamp if desired.



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