Poor (Wo)Man's Coffee Scent: A Goofy Experiment

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HowieRoll

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Hi All,

Firstly, I would like to apologize if this has been covered before. I have a hard time imagining that in the history of soapmaking this has not been tried, but I was unsuccessful in finding posts about it.

Anyhoo, back in November I was at the tag ends of a bag of ground Starbucks Espresso Roast coffee. I kept sticking my nose into the bag and inhaling, it just smelled so good. Then I got to wondering: if I put an unscented bar of soap into this bag for a while, would the coffee scent be imbued into/absorbed by the soap?

So on Nov. 23, 2016, I put a soap bar into the aforementioned bag that had about 1 tsp of grounds left in it, squeezed the air out, folded over the top a few times, and used the little tabs attached to the bag to seal it up. It sat, mostly undisturbed, until January 9, 2017 (47 days), at which point I started using the soap.

The result? It worked, depending on your definition of "worked." There is most definitely a coffee scent to the soap. I have used the soap 8 days in a row now and, unsurprisingly, the first couple uses the coffee scent was the strongest. If I call the initial scent a 10, I would say that the scent now is about an 8.5. It is not an "in your face" overpowering scent, but I'm telling ya, it's definitely there. It does not stick to your skin post-shower, but I find most EOs do not, either. I've also found that in the past couple days the soap didn't smell as strongly to my nose when dry, but when lathered up and used the coffee scent came right back out.

It is also less of a rich, ground coffee smell and more of a brewed cup of coffee smell, if that makes any sense.

The soap I used was the second batch of soap I ever made (made on March 6, 2016, so it was well cured), and it was hot process. The oils were Olive, Sunflower, Coconut, Sweet Almond, and Castor, the liquid was water/powdered goat milk, and a little honey was added along with rolled oats (which were only lightly ground because I wanted the aesthetic of "oat" soap. Oh, how I didn't realize then how painful that could be! Aaah, live and learn).

Conclusion? I would do it again. In fact, I have a very strong-smelling cocoa butter from NDA that I've been wanting to use. I think I'm going to make a soap using the cocoa butter at 15-20% and then try the "coffee imbue method" with a few bars for comparison.

I also have a separate experiment going on (started just a couple days ago), in that I took a citrus EO soap made on March 31, 2016, where the scent has all but faded, and I put it into a plastic clamshell container that has 2 locking tabs. Also in the clamshell is a cotton ball that I put drops of the same citrus EOs in proportion to the original blend. I am interested in seeing if I can "re-charge" the soap's original scent, but the clamshell isn't airtight and EOs have a way of evaporating. I might move that experiment into a more airtight container.

Sorry for this long post, but I thought I'd share the results of this goofy little experiment. I don't sell soap, but I do label each one before giving them away. At the moment, if the cocoa butter soap works well I'm not sure how I'm going to label (or quantify) "coffee air." :)
 

LanaBanana

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Pretty neat little experiment. Wouldn't that be something-- if all along the best coffee scent was right under our nose! I'm going to give this a try.
 

HowieRoll

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I was also thinking along the lines of how much money we could save on FOs/EOs if all we had to do was make nothing but unscented soaps and cure them in a tight space with 1/16-1/8oz fragrance blend. Can you imagine? Your recipe would never act funny due to troublesome fragrances, nor would the scents get skewed by the lye. Aaaaah, wishful thinking!

Something I forgot to add in aaaaaallll the words I used above... but the test "coffee air" soap started out at 3/4" thick and is round from the Pringles-can mold I used. I had also lined the mold with bubble wrap, so to be fair, this test soap had more surface area on it than a smooth bar. It's still going strong in the coffee scent department.

LanaBanana, if you or anyone else tries this I hope you come back with your results!
 

artemis

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I have 6 month old olive oil soap in the closet. It's unscented, except that it smells a little like a closet. :D I just added some FO to a couple of cotton balls and placed them in the box. The next time I think of that batch (probably a couple of months from now), I'll check on their fragrance.
 

HowieRoll

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"...smells a little like a closet." haha!

Please keep us posted on how it goes!
 

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