Statistics show the UK drinks 95 million cups of coffee a day. Assuming a reasonable average of 7g of coffee is used per cup a quick back of the envelope calculation by The Coffee Bazaar suggest we throw away around 665,000 kilos of coffee grounds each day.
That’s a lot of coffee, for sure. To put it another way, the dry weight of the coffee grinds we chuck each day is equivalent in weight to 110.8 African Elephants.
That’s hardly peanuts, but so what?
Well, the environmental impact of your daily habit is not insignificant, bub…we won’t get into this here, but the water, land used to grow it and energy used to ship it all adds up. So making the most of each cup is a good way to become a more conscientious drinker.
Make delicious food
You can use coffee – the liquid drink – to make a whole host of great recipes, from ice cream to gravy. But did you know you can also use used coffee grinds to cook tasty food?
We did not – but after doing some research and taste testing we have discovered a couple of neat uses for leftover grinds.
Why not try baking your (very finely ground – for espresso ) into some chocolate brownies for a bit of a pick-me-up? If savoury is more your thing, you can also use leftover coffee to make a rub for your steak to make a nice dark marinade/curst. Bon appetit!
Repair scratches on furniture
Unsightly scratches on wooden furniture can be covered up using nothing but leftover coffee. Mix equal parts used grounds and water and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rubbing it over the scratch.
If it is a light wood – leave the mixture to soak for about ten minutes. Darker woods could take a couple of hours. Wipe away the grounds and hey presto – the scratched wood has been stained and brought in line with the rest of the wood – masking its appearance.
Used coffee is a fertile hummus for all sorts of life. Why not try using your waste to grow some delicious mushrooms. You will need to buy a kit with a few spores in, but after that you are good to go – just let nature do its thing.
This kit will produce three 700g batches of delicious oyster mushrooms! Each batch will be ready to eat in a few days. The perfect accompaniment to a coffee-rubbed steak.
Make an air freshener
Coffee smells great and used coffee is no exception. Making an air freshener from used grounds is simple. Just wait for your grinds to dry out fully and them put them in an old sock or pair of tights and tie the end off.
Place the sack into your fridge or freezer to eliminate odours or pop it under your car seat to get rid of any nasty whiffs.
Clean your body
Coffee grinds are a natural exfoliant and very effective. So good in fact that it is kind of baffling the way companies continue to use microplastic beads to make face washes. The environmental impact of these beads is well documented. Basically, they slide down the drain and straight out to see where they contribute to a great mass of plastic soup in our oceans, which will be there for millennia and is already finding its way into our food chain!
So swerve the nasty plastics and use your leftover coffee to scrub yourself up instead. We tried mixing a few tablespoons of ground coffee with some coconut oil worked really well. Use this to scrub yourself to get rid of any dead skin – the coconut oil will help moisturise and soften your skin too.
Wash that lot off with your normal face wash. Great skin, clean oceans. Winner.
Make scented candles
You can also upcycle your coffee grounds into great DIY scented candles with a bit of know-how and creativity. You will probably need to buy some candle wicks and wax before you begin this.
Choose a vessel to build your candle in – an old coffee or espresso cup is good.
Superglue the wick to the floor of the cup.
Melt wax and pour some into the base – fill about halfway
Add a layer of ground coffee – keep it from touching the wick or it will directly flame up and get a bit pungent.
Add the rest of the wax. Lightly stir up the hot wax and coffee to spread the grounds.
Trim the wick and let the candle set.
And there you have it! These make a great gift – especially if done in a cup as that can be kept too once the candle is used.
If you want you can also add some essential oils to your hot wax for extra good smelliness. Vanilla works particularly well with coffee!
Boost hair growth
Why not try massaging used coffee grounds into your hair?
It may sound crazy but this will remove the chemical buildup of shampoos and dead skin from your hair and your scalp and leave your hair looking soft and shiny.
If you do it regularly your hair may also go a bit darker, too!
The rough grounds will also exfoliate your scalp which can boost the rate of hair growth and the caffeine in the beans, if used regularly can suppress the production of DHT – a hormone which causes hair loss! Coffee, is there anything it can’t do?
Used coffee grounds also make great compost. A very easy way of using your old grounds is simply to gather them in a bucket and add them to the compost heap or bin you keep in the garden. Paper filters can usually be composted too.
The organic material – used coffee – will help lock nitrogen into the soil and boost drainage. Used coffee tends to be PH neutral, so contrary to popular belief it will not make your soil acidic!
Repel garden pests
Used coffee, if applied directly to the soil – forming a perimeter around plants – can help keep pests at bay. Those pesky slugs and snails that love chomping your prize tomato harvest do not like caffeine and will avoid slithering into your flowerbeds if it is there.