A Recipe for the Best Coffee Scrub (or Two or Three)

The Best Coffee Exfoliant Recipe May Depend on What You're Using It For

A Recipe for the Best Coffee Scrub (or Two or Three)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

by Rebecca Sanderson
What makes the best coffee scrub? That depends on what you are specifically using it for. Some people claim the caffeine in a coffee scrub can help reduce cellulite. Others use it purely for the exfoliation factor. My sister claims it was the only cleansing agent that could remove the pig stench after picking up their piglets. A coffee body scrub has many uses and is incredibly simple to make. There are many variations on the basic recipe to tailor the scrub to your needs and desires. You can even add fragrance in the form of essential oils or soap scents.

The most basic recipe for a coffee scrub is plain coffee grounds and coconut oil. It is easiest if you soften the coconut oil first then stir until everything is well blended. I preferred about one cup of grounds with ¾ cup of coconut oil. It has enough oil to hold everything together without having a lot of extra oil oozing out. You can add more or less coconut oil depending on your own oily preferences. If you add sugar (brown or white, I found white to be a little less abrasive) then you will have much more exfoliation. The best coffee scrub recipe I found had equal parts sugar and coffee grounds with a little less oil, one cup each of grounds and sugar with ¾ cup coconut oil. Salt can be used in place of sugar, but it is much more abrasive. I found a salt and coffee ground scrub to be harsh enough that I only wanted to use it on my feet and elbows. It did work wonderfully on them, though!

While coffee grounds, sugar, and coconut oil do the trick, it’s a little boring to be considered the best coffee scrub. Many people love the smell of coffee, but not all. And even if you do, adding a little more fragrance won’t hurt. You can use anything you would normally find as soap scents such as fragrance oils, essential oils, or absolutes. However, if a person has fragrance sensitivity, they may prefer essential oils or nothing at all. What are essential oils and why would they be preferable for those with sensitivities? They are a pure oil typically distilled from a plant rather than a fragrance synthetically created in a lab. They are one chemical compound instead of several and need no preservatives. Some of the scents I really enjoyed in the coffee scrubs were orange, ginger, and a massage blend. I found that three or four drops were needed to be able to smell the essential oil above the coffee scent. Remember that citrus oils can increase light sensitivity so use skin protection.


Can you make a coffee scrub without coconut oil? Absolutely! Simply substitute your preferred oil instead of the coconut oil, using the same measurements. Even oils that are liquid at room temperature worked fine for holding the scrub together. The scrub may not stick together in your hand as much, but it will still transfer well to your skin and not fly everywhere as if you hadn’t added oil. Whatever oil you add will give different conditioning factors to your skin. Olive oil may not absorb as well and leave you feeling greasy. Sweet almond oil is a favorite substitute for coconut oil because it is odorless and absorbs well without feeling greasy. My favorite, absolute best coffee scrub was actually made with cocoa butter and apricot kernel oil instead of coconut. I melted the cocoa butter with the apricot kernel oil before adding the coffee grounds and white sugar. The proportions were: one cup coffee grounds, one cup white sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa butter, 1/3 cup apricot kernel oil. I didn’t even bother adding fragrance to this one because the cocoa butter already smelled so yummy. I liked this one best not only for the cocoa scent but also how softly it glided on my skin. Yes, apparently something can exfoliate and softly glide at the same time, or at least this did.

Now, why would we want this particular scrub instead of a simple sugar scrub? Well, mostly because of the benefits of coffee. You don’t have to drink it to benefit from it. Coffee is an excellent odor neutralizer. It also contains antioxidants that help fight the signs of aging. The caffeine in coffee is purported to help temporarily tighten skin and is often used in cellulite creams. Plus, exfoliating your skin first makes it softer by rubbing off the dead skin cells then with tiny scratches it tells your skin to kick into gear by increasing blood flow, speeding cell turnover, and even increasing collagen production. Now, if you leave the scrub on your skin for five to 10 minutes to absorb the antioxidants, you will also be absorbing the caffeine into your body. This might not be the best scrub to use right before bed. Also, use caution while pregnant or breastfeeding as that caffeine can pass to your baby. While you technically can put used coffee grounds in this scrub, I recommend against it. Used coffee grounds will have much lower levels of caffeine and antioxidants. Also, if there is any moisture left in the used grounds, it can quickly breed bacteria and mold. You can combat this by using the whole batch in one sitting. Because there is no water added to the scrub, bacteria and mold will not grow in it so you make a larger batch and keep it in an airtight container for a couple weeks as long as the coffee grounds were fresh.

I hope you enjoy making and using your coffee scrub. Try different combinations to find what you like best. We all have different preferences, and the best coffee scrub is the one you like! See below for some of my recipes.

Coffee Scrub Recipe


Strictly Simple

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • ¾ cup coconut oil


Simple Exfoliation

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup coconut oil


Feet and Elbows

  • ½ cup coffee grounds
  • ½ cup sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil


Favorite Luxurious Scrub

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup apricot kernel oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa butter, melted

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *