Minty Coffee Soap

 Made on: 16.02.2011
After a tea soap, I thought, why not coffee!! I love south Indian filtered coffee...made with a thick coffee brew, freshly boiled milk and lots of sugar....mmmm Heaven!! For a great cup in the morning, ground coffee is put into the top vessel with tiny holes, the filter is placed on top, boiling water is poured over it and then the lid is fitted so that the water seeps through the coffee with the help of gravity and collects slowly in the bottom vessel through the night (actually a couple of hours). Me thinks nothing says 'Good Morning' better than a cup of filter coffee. Here's a picture of the filter if you like:

Not my picture, found it on the internet

They are also available in brass in pretty designs and I plan to buy myself one (when I go to India). I like things made of brass, because they have a traditional Indian feel.  Back to my coffee soap! I heard coffee soaps have the power to rid the hands of ugly fish, onion and garlic smells to name a few.  I formulated my own recipe this time.

Coconut oil - 32%
Palm oil - 32%
Canola oil - 32%
Sunflower oil - 5% (I don't know why I thought of that 5%)

A very basic kitchen soap. The lye solution was made with very strong coffee brew and the coffee grounds were added towards the end into the soap for a scrub effect. I also added some ground cinnamon. I love spices! :)

When I wrapped up the soap in a fleece blanket to gel, it became really really hot. It must have been the cinnamon. The soaps gelled wonderfully...

Soap going through the gel phase

Before(left) and after(right) gel
Mint, lime and clove (more spices, why not?) essential oils make this soap smell really fresh and clean but also warm (and spicy?). I love the fragrance! Just wish I had used a more skin caring olive oil or some butters instead of so much coconut oil. My hands feel a little dry after washing, but the food smells really vanish.  My minty cinnamon-y coffee soap says 'Good Morning'!

Chamomile tea soap

Made on: 28.01.2011

A week after attending the workshop, I had an intense itch to make my own soap. Luckily my teacher gave me some sodium hydroxide and also a few recipes. What was holding me back???

I ran to the store and got the oils that were needed and also some essential oils.
I was ready!!!
Oh no!! No spatula, no gloves, no utensil to mix lye. I ran to the store again.
Now, I was ready!!
Not yet!! No distilled water...grrrrr. I ran to the store yet again.
FINALLY, I was ready???

I made a strong chamomile tea and put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours. Oils were measured and put on a gentle heat to melt. Weighed the lye and kept it far away. Weighed the tea....RATS!!! 100 grams lesser (evaporation and thirsty tea bags). No one is looking...quick, add some distilled water. :D

The tea and lye solution stank!! It stunk up the oils too when added. After stirring for about an hour it reached very thin trace. I separated the soap and added color and essential oils (lemon grass, clove, lavender). When I poured the soap into different molds I could see no color at all. I could live with no marbling, but who wants a STINKY soap. :(

I wrapped up the stinky creation in a blanket and dragged my feet to bed. This time the soaps gelled. Next morning I opened them up and saw the color popped out too. :) :)
The tea gave the soaps a nice golden sheen. I also read that the stink (a common thing in tea and coffee soaps) would go away in a couple of days...and it did. The soaps are nice and they smell good too. YAY!


Crowned lavender soaps

Lemon grass & lavender soap block

Clove, lavender & lemon grass soaps

Workshop creations

Made on: 22.01.2011
22nd January 2011. I might forget the date but not the day as I actually made soap for the very first time on this day. A few weeks before this day I had found a lady who was willing to do a workshop on a Saturday and teach me how to make soap. Things I had to take along...

* Blanket: I took a brand new white one :)

* Mold: Pringles can lined with a freezer bag(it didn't get used though)

* A favorite scent: I took an essential oil mix 'Gute Laune'(Good mood) that smelled citrusy

* Joy of experimenting: °*°*°Turmeric powder °*°*°

From 9 in the morning till 12 noon we made soap. My heart was pounding with excitement the whole time and I think I had a vague grin too, to match my widened eyes...LOL. I got to weigh the oils, pour the lye solution into the oils and stir. After so many months of reading and dreaming about making soap, I was finally doing it. We made three different soaps that day.

Blue Vanilla swirl (Brambleberry fragrance)

Gute Laune soap colored with turmeric

At the bottom is a lavender and lemon grass soap with dried lavender buds (sadly the buds turned brown)

The poor soaps didn't get a chance to go through the gel stage, partly because they were out in terribly freezing temperatures till I could get them home, and mostly because of curious George who kept peeking every few minutes to see what was happening. They are not very pretty(hard to release from the molds and also curious George didn't think of the final outcome before getting the knife out) but are creamy and feel nice on the skin.

What a day it was!!

Thank you Satti!

Hello there and welcome!! Thank you for stopping by and I wish you keep coming back regularly for more updates from this soap nut. I am from India but live in Germany with my husband. As a kid my mom used to wash my hair with soap nuts and now I have turned into a 'Soap Nut', therefore the blog title.

I never knew soap could be made by hand, until I saw a movie titled 'Suraj ka Satvan Ghoda' (translates to 'The seventh horse of the Sun') directed by Shyam Benegal. One of the characters in the movie is a gypsy girl named 'Satti' who makes soap in the village.

*Bulb lights up*

Early next morning I start to search the net as to how soap is made. I was amazed, fascinated and hooked!! For days and weeks after that I kept reading and reading and realized this was it!!! This is why I was make soap!! Enlightened!!!

I searched for institutes or individuals who gave courses in Germany but couldn't find one. Then as luck would have it, my husband's work took us to Austria where I found a wonderful teacher who so lovingly shared her knowledge and helped me learn how to make soap.

I have made a few batches since my first attempt with Ms. Getraud Schweyer, and dream of the day (maybe some years later) when I can have my own store *fingers crossed*.

I don't think I would have ever known about handmade soap, if not for the one character who opened up this beautiful soap world to me....