If you’re a coffee lover of the fancy kind – y’know, the kind that requires ground coffee made up in a plunger or machine, also known as the most freakin’ excellent kind – you’ll be well acquainted with the pain in the ass that is the leftover ground coffee.
Not only does it have a sneaky way of making a gritty mess everywhere, unless you’re a master composter it pretty much always ends up in the bin. Which doesn’t feel great for us folk trying to live a lower impact life.
I love coffee and I also love making my own all-natural homemade soap. So I put the two together and came up with a rather rad way to recycle used coffee while creating a marvellous invigorating and exfoliating shower scrub.
(Oh, and heads up, used ground coffee is rad for a whole range of other things, like fertilising your plants and attracting worms to your garden. Check out this list for more ideas.)
My soap is based on a traditional Spanish Castile soap recipe passed down to me by Francisca, an octogenarian grandmother who lives in a village near me here in Spain.
Her traditional soap is a three-ingredient wonder, with olive oil the main player.
It’s great on its own as a simple unscented soap. It also makes a great base from which you can play with all kinds of scented combinations.
The base does tend to strip back the scent of many compounds, coffee included, which is where essential oils come into play.
To give your homemade coffee soap that deliciously strong caffeine kick, you can add coffee essential oil. But cinnamon essential oil is a lot more common – and it’s what I had in the cupboard – so that’s the main scent of this guy.
Cinnamon oil is also great for your skin.
Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap
Makes about 25 bars.
1.5 litres olive oil
175 grams lye
350 grams water
1-5 tablespoons ground coffee
20 or so drops cinnamon essential oil
A little cinnamon to sprinkle over the top of the soap to make it look cool, if you like
To make the soap base, follow my homemade Castile soap recipe here, pausing when the soap reaches the trace stage. That’s the time to add the ground coffee and cinnamon essential oil.
Adding more ground coffee will make the soap a richer brown colour and also up its exfoliating properties. Add cinnamon oil until you can smell it in the mixture. Keep in mind that the scent will dull as the soap dries and cures.
Mix well and fold the soap into a mould. Cure and cut according to the base recipe instructions.
Your beautifully scented, exfoliating soap should be ready to use within a couple weeks.
12 steps to cosmetics so natural you can eat the ingredients
This little how-to is the second instalment in our brand spankin’ new series on how to green your bathroom by swapping to completely natural and cruelty-free cosmetics.
Making your own essential oil-scented soaps, naturally coloured with herbs, spices and coffee, means you know exactly what’s inside the suds you’re a-slathering all over your skin.
No more nasty chemicals. No testing on animals. Much less packaging. And, quite possibly, a healthier you.
We’re also volunteering to be your human guinea pigs, so if there’s something natural cosmetics-related that you’ve been a-ponderin’, hit us up in the comments.
Check out the other steps via the links below:
- Step 1: Bathroom stocktake – get our handy free worksheet to help you work out how naughty or nice your current cosmetic brands are.
- Step 2: Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap – how to recycle used coffee grounds into a luxuriously exfoliating and all-natural homemade soap.
- Step 3: How to cleanse your face with nothing more than oil (and a little apple cider vinegar) plus tips on dealing with adult acne.
- Step 4: Whipped organic chocolate body butter – how to create an intensely moisturising body butter using only three-ingredients.
- Step 5: How to go no ‘poo – ditch store-bought shampoo and wash your hair using only bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar.
- Step 6: Menstrual cups – less wastage, less stink, less toxins. The better alternative to pads and tampons.
- Step 7: Natural homemade toothpaste – whip up your own toothpaste using everyday ingredients you probably already have floating around your pantry.
- Step 8: Oil pulling – swill a little oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes each day to improve dental health and a whole heap more.
- Step 9: Dry body brushing – get healthy, glowing, soft skin using this simple exfoliating technique.
- Step 10: Healing face and body butter – how to make your own naturally-scented and powerfully healing face and body moisturiser.