Coffee is my love language. Seriously…There isn’t much that can make me feel more in love with my husband than waking up to the smell of brewing coffee. Usually I make my own, but every now and then he will brew it for me so I can have it immediately after waking… He even taught our 10 year old son to brew coffee in our Ninja Coffee Bar for me as a Mother’s Day gift!
Obviously coffee is a pretty important part of my day. Coffee beans don’t usually sit around in our house because I drink ’em all up, but if you have extra or you want to reuse your used coffee grounds, then read on, friend. Remy Bernard from Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes has some great ideas for coffee bean uses that you need to see!
How to Use Old/Used Coffee Beans and Coffee Grounds
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 coffee bean uses 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.
13 Coffee Bean Uses + Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Coffee Bean Use #1: 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.
Coffee Bean Use #2: 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 glass votive holders 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.
Coffee Bean Use #3: 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
Do you like those ideas for coffee bean uses, but you typically use pre-ground coffee? No worries! I also have ideas for you to reuse your old coffee grounds!
Coffee Ground Use #1: Clean 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 glass food storage container of dried out grounds under my sink and break them out when I have a cleanup that is too tough for just a sponge.
Coffee Ground Use #2: 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 grounds will definitely deter these critters from travelling over them.
Coffee Ground Use #3: DIY Coffee Scrub or Exfoliating Soap
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 in my self-care routine. This DIY coffee scrub leaves my skin feeling clean and firm and is also dead simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
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!
Coffee Ground Use #4: Compost
Coffee grounds make an excellent composting material. Earthworms love coffee, the grounds provide aeration and drainage, and the coffee adds nitrogen to the compost. Be sure to only add used or rinsed coffee grounds to your compost because fresh grounds will make your soil more acidic. You can grab a compost guide sheet in the Member Resource Library!
Coffee Ground Use #5: Deodorize
Coffee grounds work very similar to baking soda in that they both trap icky odors in your home. You will want to use dry coffee grounds for this so if you have already used to grounds, just lay them out of a towel or baking sheet for a few hours to dry out then put them in a shallow dish or jar to start trapping odors.
Coffee Ground Use #6: Smooth scratches on furniture
Coffee grounds can help to fix & cover scratches on wooden furniture. This works by staining the scratch so it isn’t as visible. If your furniture is a dark wood, you can simply apply wet coffee grounds with a Q-tip or flour sack towel and then wipe them away 10-15 minutes later. If your furniture is a lighter brown, you can dilute the coffee with water and vinegar (at a 1:1 ratio).
Coffee Ground Use #7: Make a dye or stain
You can also turn your old coffee grounds into a fabric dye or a wood stain! Boil the grounds, let them steep for several hours, and apply them directly to the wood with a rag or steel wool. You can strain out the grounds before applying to the wood if you wish. Instead of boiling the coffee, you can soak the coffee and a piece of steel wool in vinegar over night. Be sure to seal the wood after you stain it so it doesn’t fade as quickly.
Coffee Ground Use #8: Paint
If you want to try out a new art skill, painting with coffee is the way to go! Soak coffee grounds in water and start painting! The longer the grounds soak, the darker the “paint” will be.
Coffee Ground Use #9: Reduce the appearance of cellulite
As a mama of three who loves to eat her sweets, this is probably the most exciting item on this list of coffee bean uses! If you check the ingredients in most cellulite creams, you will see caffeine listed. While your cellulite won’t completely disappear, coffee grounds can help to reduce the appearance. According to Dr. Mona Gohara, “Caffeine stimulates dilation while the scrubbing motion increases circulation, plumping up the skin and making cellulite look less obvious. Plus, coffee grounds contain antioxidants, so they can increase collagen production.”
Coffee Ground Use #10: Grow Mushrooms
Mushrooms love coffee! You can fill a container with coffee grounds & mushroom spawn and grow your own mushrooms! I have used an at-home mushroom growing kit from Back to the Roots that comes pre-packed with coffee and mushrooms spawn. This is a great option is you have never grown mushrooms before. If you choose to make your own set-up, you will need to add cardboard or straw to the coffee and you need to be sure to keep the work space clean as the coffee can become contaminated easily.
What are your favorite coffee bean uses?
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.