Amazing Uses for Old Coffee Beans Around the House
I’ll level with you: I’m a bit of a coffee junkie. It’s the absolute first thing I go for when I roll out of bed, and my go-to in the afternoon when I’m about to pick up the kids and settle into my mom duties for the next 6 hours. I mean come on, what’s not to love? It tastes great, every year more and more research comes out about its growing list of health benefits, and it’s always there to save the day when I need a little boost.
However, depending on how you look at it, drinking coffee every day is not without its downsides. You see, I don’t like waste and try to avoid it wherever possible, and one small problem with my coffee consumption is the unused beans it produces. Whether it’s from my beans going stale because I bought them in bulk and didn’t use them all, or the used coffee grounds that inevitably wind up in the trash, the waste is hard to ignore. So, a few months ago I resolved to figure out the best ways to make the most of these beans bound for the trash bin.
This post is broken up into two sections. The first parts will give you some ideas for whole beans that may have gone stale or are otherwise unusable, and the second is for ground, already used coffee beans that you would otherwise most certainly just toss in the trash.
Reuse Coffee Beans
Make Chocolate Espresso Beans
This is probably my favorite trick (I like my sweets too) and a great way to get more life out of your stale coffee beans. I used to love buying these in the store, but they can be quite expensive and my homemade version is just as good. And while you don’t want to brew coffee with beans that have gone stale, they don’t affect the flavor of the chocolate covered beans at all. The best part is that they are super simple to make too!
All you have to do is melt down some of your favorite chocolate and stir in the beans. Once they are coated, remove them with a fork and let them harden on a piece of wax or parchment paper. For something a little fancier, you can roll them in cocoa powder before you let them cool down.
Adding Accents to Candles
This is a tip I picked up from Pinterest and you can find plenty of examples of it done well over there. Adding the beans to the glass candle holder make for wonderful table pieces and add a warm and inviting tone to any room. Even if it’s just for a special occasion like Thanksgiving, I always get tons of compliments and they take no time at all to create.
Adding A Kick to Your Recipes
Like with the chocolate covered beans, just because the coffee is too stale to brew with, it doesn’t mean they don’t contain plenty of flavor for other recipes. I make a mean homemade barbeque sauce and the secret ingredient is coffee. But I never use fresh coffee beans because I generally have some stale ones on hand. Some other recipes that I have had a lot of success with are using the stale beans in sauces, glazes, marinades and flavoring for desserts like ice cream or cake.
Reuse Coffee Grounds
Clean Burnt Pots and Pans
A handful of wet used grounds applied to a soft cloth makes an excellent abrasive for cleaning pots and pans that have tough to clean burnt on food. The grounds have a nice sharp edge that does a great job of breaking up the food particles, but aren’t so sharp that they will damage your nicer cookware. I usually keep a Tupperware of dried out grounds under my sink and break them out when I have a cleanup that is too tough for just a sponge.
Garden Slug and Snail Repellent
Nothing stinks more than having your hard work out in the garden ruined by slugs that love to feed on the leaves of your precious seedlings. While there are tons of myths out there about coffee grounds being a good insect repellent for the garden, sprinkling some coarsely ground coffee around the base of your plants will prevent slugs and snails from getting to them because of their softer underbellies. The sharp edges of the ground will definitely deter these critters from travelling over them.
DIY Coffee Scrub
Seeing as how the skin is the largest organ on our body and absorbs much of what we come in contact with, I like to make my own beauty products when possible. That way, I know exactly what’s in them and can use organic ingredients that I have personally sourced. This DIY coffee scrub leaves my skin feeling clean and firm and is also dead simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup ground organic coffee
1 cup organic sugar or salt
1/2 Cup organic Coconut Oil
1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
Melt the coconut oil and allow it to cool off, but not so much that it hardens back up. Mix in all the ingredients and store in an airtight glass jar. It’s that simple!
Did you know that you can compost old coffee grounds, too??
A Little About our Guest Author
Remy Bernard is the Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes. A baker, chef and writer, Remy started Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes as a way to deepen and spread her passion for making delicious food. Since starting the blog, her focus has shifted to a more eco-conscious, greener way of living that emphasizes small steps which can have a big impact.