This design tutorial is from my new soapmaking book, The Complete Guide to Natural Soapmaking. You can find it on Amazon in both print and for Kindle.

We also have a FREE eBook at Lovin Soap, Basic Cold Process Soap Making eBook!

Coffee Scrub Soap with Tiger Stripe Design

Coffee makes a wonderful exfoliant in soap. This essential oil blend is complex and perfect in this three-color swirled soap.

Yield: 1296 grams | 10 bars (129 grams each)

Start to Finish Time: 1 hour to create soap, 24 to 48 hours to saponify, 4 weeks to cure

Lye Discount: 5%

Safety First: Remember to wear goggles and gloves. Mix the lye solution in a well-ventilated area with access to a sink for flushing with water if necessary. Keep your workspace free from distractions, small children, and pets.  


  • Digital scale
  • Stick blender
  • Dry lye container
  • Lye solution container
  • Batch container (microwave-safe)
  • 3 mixing containers
  • Glass container
  • Infrared thermometer gun (optional)
  • Silicone spatulas
  • 10-inch silicone loaf mold
  • Measuring spoons


Base Oils (900 grams)

  • Coconut oil, 76 deg – 360 grams (40%)
  • Cocoa butter – 135 grams (15%)
  • Olive oil – 405 grams (45%)

Lye Solution

  • Sodium hydroxide – 132 grams
  • Distilled water – 264 grams


  • Basil essential oil – 10 grams
  • Orange essential oil – 10 grams 
  • Spearmint essential oil – 10 grams
  • Fir needle essential oil – 9 grams
  • Bitter almond essential oil – 6 grams    


  • Zinc oxide – 1 tablespoon
  • Ground coffee – 1 teaspoon
  • Cosmetic charcoal – 2 teaspoons

Prep ahead: Weigh the essential oils into a glass container; blend together.

Step 1: Weigh the water into your lye solution container.

Step 2: Weigh the sodium hydroxide into your dry lye container. 

Step 3: Following safety precautions, pour the sodium hydroxide into the water while stirring.  Turn your head and lean away from the lye solution. Stir until all the granules have dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Step 4: Weigh and melt the solid oils and butters.

Step 5: Weigh the liquid oils into the melted oils and butters.

Step 6: Add your essential oils to the prepared base oils and blend.

Step 7: Check the temperature of your base oil mixture and lye solution. For a swirled soap, a good range for both mixtures is between 80°F and 90°F.

Step 8: Pour the lye solution into your melted oils and mix to emulsion or light trace.

Step 9: Divide your soap into 3 equal parts to color.

Step 10: Add the zinc oxide to one container, the coffee grounds to another, and the charcoal powder to the third.

Step 11: Using the tiger stripe swirl technique (see video), pour a portion of each color in straight lines down the center of the mold. Rotate through the colors 4 to 6 times each. 

Step 12: Use a skewer to swirl the very top of the soap.

Step 13: Allow the soap to saponify for 24 to 48 hours.

Step 14: Unmold your soap, cut into bars, and allow to cure in a cool, dry space for at least four weeks.

Tip: Coffee grounds can be quite scratchy in soap. I like to run mine for a long time in the coffee grinder to get more of a powder. It will still be exfoliating in your soap.

Happy Soaping!

Amanda Aaron