It turns out you can make soap from darn near anything. Of course, you need the basic ingredients; fat, liquid and lye, but the combinations of those elements are nearly endless when you start looking at the possibilities.
That being the case, today I made soap out of coffee. Actually, it was yesterday that I made the soap, but because I use a cold-process, my soap needs to rest in a soothing, restful place for 12 to 24 hours before cutting.
Truth be told, it was my second attempt at making coffee soap. My first attempt was an utter disaster complete with an overflowing lye and coffee lava volcano that destroyed everything in its path, but that’s a story for another day. It did teach me a very good lesson: use extra precaution when adding lye to anything other than purified water. It also helps if you do your research ahead of time instead of assuming all chemicals will react in the same manner, but again…a story for another day.
In my mind, I hear you saying, “What the heck? Who has time to come back another day? Who does she think she is…”
Since you’re already here, and reading ever so patiently, I’ll tell you the story of my coffee and lye mishap.
So, I don’t drink coffee, but my husband does. We have a Tassimo, and he had some fancy-schmancy cafe latte, and a hazelnut flavoured dark-roast. I made a cup of each, mixed them together, and let them cool for about five minutes. Then I poured in the lye, pretty much all of it at once for some reason, even though I know better. I totally blame Mercury in retrograde, but that’s besides the point.
I’m not sure if it was the sugar in the pre-mixed latte, or just the heat from the warm coffee and too much lye all at once, but my toxic mixture bubbled over like lava exploding from Mt. Vesuvius all over my stove.
What a God-awful mess! This super-fast, 3 second video shows you what I mean.
Thank God for safety gear!
Out came the burners, up went the top of the stove, and in went the paper-towels. Once I had sopped up the smelly, slimy goo, and disposed of the towels in a bio-hazard bag, out came the vinegar, which I proceeded to use full strength to neutralize any residual lye mixture. It took several hours with all the doors and windows open before I could stand the smell. Needless to say, I didn’t get any soap made that night
Let me be the first to tell you, five minutes is not nearly enough time to let coffee cool before mixing it with lye.
In fact, a little research taught me you need to freeze your coffee, or any other liquid aside from water before mixing it with lye. Then you need to add your lye slowly, a little at a time, mixing constantly as the lye heats up and melts the ice cubes.
So this is what I did the second time around. Something else I learned during my research is that the scent of the coffee does not survive the saponification process. I guess there are some artificial coffee scents out there, but I’m not a fan of artificial scents, and I didn’t have any on-hand, so I scented with a little bit of peppermint essential oil, and I threw in a little pure cocoa powder to provide a gentle exfoliation factor.
Another in the OMG Soap line, Symsie ‘Wake-Me-Up’ Suds is made with organic coconut oil, virgin olive oil, and sweet almond oil, and will be available in about six weeks!