Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap

Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap

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

All-natural olive oil 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.

Natural coffee and cinnamon soap made from a Castile soap base

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:


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16 Responses to Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap

  1. Bansri November 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Koren, I came across your recipe for the cinnamon and coffee soap and would really like to try making it. I was wondering if I could use the coffee left over in a nespresso pod?

    • Koren November 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      Heya! I reckon you could. I know that used coffee grounds from plungers etc work just fine, so I’d say the nespresso pod grounds should be fine, too. Give it a whirl and let us know how you go! 🙂

  2. anjie December 1, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Was wondering how much castile soap to use?

    • Koren December 2, 2015 at 4:17 am #

      Hi Anjie, you make the Castile soap as part of the process – that’s the olive oil, lye and water. So using the amounts of oil, lye and water listed in this recipe, you make the base Castile base according to these instructions: https://shemakesmagic.com/homemade-soap-traditional-castile/. From there you add the coffee grounds and cinnamon oil and voila! You’re done. Hope that helps.

  3. CC January 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    Hi Koren
    Quick question, Do you dry out the coffee grounds before using? or dehydrate them in the oven? or do you simply make a coffee and off you go?

    Contemplating making a few varieties of soaps once i muster the courage to make some!

    • Koren January 30, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      Hi there – I did use dry coffee grounds in this recipe but I don’t think it would make a difference if they were wet. Good luck and let me know how you go!

  4. Kristina February 18, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    I was wondering if you could substitute coconut oil for the olive oil? Would it still turn out the same way?

  5. Patricia August 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    I will certainly try this recipe,…I ‘ll be so happy to have a photo from Fransisca who give you the recipe, so I can Imagine this nice women who’s so friendly. when I give some of this soap , I’ll say >this is fransisca soap.

  6. Neelie Allen October 31, 2016 at 11:42 pm #

    Do you use cinnamon leaf or cinnamon bark EO?

    • Koren February 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

      Hmm, I’m actually not even sure! The bottle just said “cinnamon essential oil”. Probably doesn’t make a huge amount of difference?

  7. bobbi December 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    Has anyone tried this, am curious about the aroma? Will I smell like coffee?


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