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 leftover coffee grounds.

This stuff is excellent for your compost and garden, and a whole range of other things (Check out this list for more ideas.) But there’s also a slightly less conventional way of putting it to good use.

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.

My soap is based on a traditional Spanish Castile soap recipe passed down to me by Francisca, an octogenarian grandmother who lived in a village near me while I was based 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