A normal cold-process soap recipe calls for distilled water as one of the main ingredients. But what happens when you decide to kick your water to the curb? Apparently, brew soap is what happens. I was tired of the same distilled water base for my soap recipes, so I decided to see what the outcome of brew soaps would be. (In short, pretty awesome.)
Like millions of other Americans, I start my morning off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. During the months when I teach, I’m usually harried and run to a local coffee shop to grab my fix of morning joe, but during the summer months, I like to brew my own coffee and sip it outside on my porch while reading.
The Mocha Coffee Break Soap has been part of our permanent line. Inspired by sipping coffee, the love of the smell of chocolate, and the desire to create an exfoliating, scratchy bar of soap, Mocha Coffee Break was born.
Mocha Coffee Break Soap soon became a fan favorite – with myself and my husband included. I love the scratchiness and exfoliation, plus the extra caffeine boost from the soap made with real Colombian coffee helps to tighten pores.
The spring I figured – why stop at coffee? I decided to expand my soaping horizons and explore the skin benefits – and the fun – of using other brews to make soap.
I tried out beer soap. I use Samuel Adams Oatmeal Cappuccino Stout to make Monday Night Football Vegan Soap. Because of the sugar, beer soap produces a beautiful, fluffy lather. I thought this would be especially perfect for Father’s Day, so I scented it with cedarwood essential oil, with a dash of patchouli. Between the hoppiness of the beer and the woodsiness of the cedarwood, this soap smells masculine, strong, but still elegant.
I really loved using the cocoa butter in this bar soap because it’s extra firm, and I truly wanted to give the impression of a “manly” soap. Working with the beer was a lot easier than I anticipated. After boiling off the alcohol, it actually behaved very well in the soap to produce a bar that was smooth, beautiful, fragrant, and easy to cut. I sincerely believe using a high-quality beer made all the difference.
The name of this soap was born before the idea. I always loved the concept of a “Girls Night Out” theme for one of our moments, but never could quite grasp what that scent was. That’s when I got an invitation from my friend to come over to her house to play board games and sip wine. Boom. To the brew-mobile, Batman! GIRLS NIGHT OUT WINE SOAP!
Working with wine was a real challenge. First, I had to boil off the alcohol but had to watch not to boil it too long or I would actually burn the wine. Then I had to let the wine cool, freeze, and finally, I could mix it with the lye. The amount of sugar in wine is so intense that mixing it with the lye without freezing would cause the temperatures to go over 300 degrees Fahrenheit – completely making a burning mess. On the flip side, the sugar creates a beautiful fluffy lather, and the Cabernet gives the soap such a floral fragrance. This soap did start to seize on me pretty fast when mixing, so it’s a bit more rugged looking than others, but an absolutely gorgeous bar of soap.
Finally, I wanted to work with one of my favorite comfort beverages – Early Gray Tea. I love the natural bergamot that comes through with Early Gray, and the softness the tea makes for the water. In soap, that soft water translated to a lustrous, smooth bar of beautiful Tea Time Vegan Soap.
I scented this one with crisp cranberries and lemon poppy, so the top notes are bursting with a freshness closing off bottom notes that have a light, sugary edge. I chose to make this bar with shea butter to give it an extra firmness with lovely moisturizing properties. I sincerely love the way this bar smells and wish I would have made a bigger batch!
Overall, I really enjoyed working with different mediums to make soap and will continue to experiment in the future. I would love to hear your ideas on what I should make next!