Using coffee and tea in your soap recipes

There are so many reasons that you might want to incorporate ingredients like tea and coffee into soap recipes. It may be the exfoliating abilities of the coffee grounds, the aesthetic appeal of the loose tea or the caffeine burst that these ingredients provide.

In fact, there are a few mass-produced soaps that boast a “caffeine buzz.” Ars Technica put the soap to the test and found that it’s not just a marketing ploy. Though it takes more lathering than you would with your average soap, the reporter did state that he felt more awake following regular uses.

For whatever reason you’re considering these caffeine sources in your soap recipe, there are plenty of ways to do it. Here are a few methods to consider:

Coffee grounds make for great exfoliants.

Exfoliate with grounds 
One of the most common ways that caffeinated things are used in soap recipes is using them as an exfoliant. When adding the grounds to your soap, make use of old grounds instead of something fresh. Not only does this allow you to reuse grounds instead of wasting them, but the texture will be better for the exfoliants. Some soaps even utilize coffee beans so it can be used as a massage bar as well. However, these can clog up your drain once the soap begins to disintegrate.

“Make sure your coffee or tea has cooled down before mixing.”

Replace water with coffee or tea
The scent of coffee grounds in a bar of soap is subtle, however, you can intensify it by using chilled coffee. Mocha and chocolate also pair well with the coffee theme. You can also find essential oils that complement the teas that you’re using, like ginger, chair or green tea. Depending on the color of the liquid, it will subtly affect the soap’s color, but won’t make as big of an impression on the appearance as a soap dye would. The darker you want the soap, the longer you should steep the tea or the stronger you should brew the coffee. Since you’ll be mixing the liquid with lye, it’s important to ensure that it’s completely cooled before mixing.

Use tea leaves
Another popular method of incorporating tea into your soap is to make it with the tea leaves. However, many beginners get frustrated that the once vibrant tea is a brown color in the soap, and all of the color is now surrounding the leaves and flowers. Though this doesn’t tend to happen with light colored teas like chamomile, it is common in darker ones like English breakfast. To prevent this, you need to make a cup of tea with the leaves beforehand. However, this will also zap the color from the tea. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to keep the tea vibrant. After you steep the tea, take it out of the cup and squeeze as much moisture out as possible. If you want the tea leaves mixed into the middle of the soap, simply pour them into the mixture before. If you just want them on top, like a garnish, pour your soap mix into the mold, and then sprinkle the tea leaves on top.