Make your lye solution by pouring the lye into the chai tea or water (your choice) and stirring until the lye is dissolved. The solution will get very hot and will slowly cool down. It's a good idea to do this step outside or in a well ventilated area, and avoid inhaling the fumes. As always, add your lye to your water and not the other way around! Be very careful when working with lye and the lye solution. Wear gloves and protective goggles!
Let the solution cool down in an area where it won't be touched or knocked over by other people or pets. Meanwhile, mix together your olive and coconut oils, and measure out your molasses. I personally don't heat my oils. If making this soap in the winter when coconut oil is solid due to the colder temperatures, you can either melt it first, or just blend it into the olive oil with an immersion blender. The remaining heat from the lye solution will also slightly warm up the oils. You can also now take the time to prepare your molds by oiling them down. I use silicone molds and plastic containers for my soap molds.
When the lye solution has cleared up and isn't too hot to work with anymore, you can pour the lye mixture into the oil mixture and carefully stir them together. Once you have incorporated the lye solution into the oils you can begin to mix them together with a hand blender.
When you start to reach trace, the point in the soap making process in which your mixture begins to look like mayonnaise in texture, you'll want to add in your molasses and essential oils. You can also add in vanilla extract, which will help darken the soap a little more and will add a bit of vanilla scent, at least for awhile. Most soap makers say that the scent from vanilla extract is very short lived, and some people have had problems with the alcohol in the extract causing the soap to seize (I didn't have that problem), so you may not want to risk adding it in.
As for the essential oils, this time I added more ginger than anything else, followed by cinnamon, and just a few drops of clove oil. I usually don't measure and just let my nose guide me, but it usually ends up being about 5ml of EOs overall.
Mix together all of your ingredients, and pour them into your prepared molds. I like to wait until it gets to a slightly thicker mayonnaise texture (but not too thick) to make sure it is completely and thoroughly mixed and to be certain it has reached a definite trace.
Cover your soap with a cloth and set aside for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours has passed, you can carefully unmold your soap. If you used a large mold, you can cut your soap into bars at this stage. I decided to use a cookie cutter to cut a few bars of soap into a gingerbread shape. While I think it makes a cute gift that way, I must admit that I like the practicality of a bar of soap much better.
Leave your soap to fully harden for about a month. To help the process, leave space between each bar, and turn them over every day or two, at least at first.
Enjoy your soap!