An unusual recipe and not one for eating…
A few years ago, after a trip to Borneo, I started boycotting palm oil in food and cosmetics and generally in anything it is found because seeing the destruction of what used to be rain forest for miles and miles and seeing these beautiful and poor orangutans in the rehabilitation centre at Sepilok was simply shocking. Shortly after, I started making my own soap too, first easy melt and pour things which got me going, but then actual cold process, home made proper soap. And I loved it.
It is a bit like cooking: it’s a creative process, it requires precision but also creativity and it’s great when people actually like my soap bars! I then started Monkey Leaf, soap with a heart and decided to give any profit to the Orangutan Appeal UK.
Having a full time job means I can’t make soap as often as I can nor dedicate the attention Monkey Leaf deserves… and I took a couple of years’ break due to work and dog owning commitments but I got into the groove again and made 3 lovely new batches in the autumn which I sold out by Christmas, enabling a good donation to the charity.
While showing off my soap, I was contacted by my friend Edy who runs Terrone Coffee & Co and whom I have known for a few years now. His coffee is great and a true example of the entrepreneurial spirit and passion someone from Campania has (of course, we have this in common). We discussed creating a bespoke Terrone coffee soap bars, using of course their coffee which is 100% arabica. I have used coffee before and I love making soap with it. The dark, brown hues make the soap different and attractive, and the coffee ground in it are exfoliating and said to help with ‘cooking smells’ such as garlic and fish so recommended for chefs and cooks.
Working with Edy and his team, we planned two batches to be branded by them and sold in their outlets (such as Netil Market). They picked the essential oils to be used, with some guidance from me of course and I am very pleased with the results. One batch is more feminine, with beautiful citrusy neroli and grapefruit notes, while the other is directed at boys, and uses sandalwood essential oil and tobacco absolute for a darker shade of soap and spicy, warming tones.
Below is my recipe but it’s more as an ingredients list than anything else. Cold process soap making should not be attempted if untrained as it involves handling caustic soda, nor should essential oils be used without some expertise, as well as of course the selling of the soap itself and the labeling which are both subject to extensive regulations in the UK.
Terrone & Co. 100% Arabica coffee
500gr olive oil (pomace works best!)
500gr coconut butter
100gr sweet almond oil
50gr castor oil
100gr cocoa butter
200gr shea butter
30gr blended essential oils
522gr Terrone coffee (I used my De Longhi pressure machine) + dried ground left overs
202gr caustic soda (lye)
The lye solution is made with the coffee – it heats up massively (coffee is cold of course), and stinks as per any lye solution made using anything other than plain water. No smells of coffee lingers in the final soap, nor of course, any lye related smell!
The soap cures for around 3-4 weeks before it is ready to use. They can last a long time although they are best used within a year.