A common question we get at our coffee cart during events is whether the brewed coffee grounds can be reused to brew another drink as it feels like a waste to dump them after a single use.
Brewing with used coffee grounds is not the best idea as you’ll end up with a flat, bitter, diluted cup of coffee-flavoured water.
However, they can be reused in a multitude of ways. We share some creative uses for your used coffee grounds here, instead of rebrewing.
Most coffee brewing methods do not fully extract everything from coffee grounds. There are nutrients (namely nitrogen), antioxidants and caffeine retained in your spent coffee grounds.
a) Give your plants a treat
Spent coffee grounds are said to be a great source of nutrients if added directly to the soil of your potted plants. Sprinkle a little at a time. Don’t go crazy with the coffee grounds as they could cause affect your soil’s pH balance.
Also, since coffee grounds are not toxic, so you don’t need to worry about getting them on your edible vegetables if you’re harvesting from the garden.
Compost is basically decomposed organic material and is termed as ‘black gold’ by gardeners. It is used as a fertiliser and offers the benefits of being a pH balancer while retaining moisture. And guess what? Spent coffee grounds are a great nutrient-rich additive to your compost.
If you compost, one way to use coffee grounds in the garden is to add them directly to your compost. The coffee grounds provide nitrogen and other nutrients that will help with the composting process.
2. Coffee Ground Scrub
You could put your coffee grounds to use by making a coffee ground scrub for your hands, face and even body. These are said to have great exfoliating properties and contain a good amount of antioxidants.
Add equal parts of used coffee grounds with olive oil and other materials like honey or vanilla scent to recreate a spa-like experience at home.
3. General Scrub
Due to the particle size, coffee grounds are also an effective scrubbing agent for getting rid of tough stuff on the surface of your pots and pans. If you are not comfortable with using a homemade coffee ground scrub, spent coffee grounds are a great organic alternative to chemical cleaning products.
Simply sprinkle a spoonful of coffee grounds into your dirty pot or pan then use an old towel to scrub down the dirt.
Warning! Do not use coffee grounds to scrub your non-stick or ceramic pans as they could leave scratches and damage the non-stick coating!
4. Grow mushrooms
Coffee grounds can also be used to create bedding for mushrooms and other edible fungi that grow on logs.
Mix the coffee grounds into the sawdust and then line it up on the log, keeping in mind that you want at least three inches of bedding on top of the log. Add more layers for deeper logs, if desired.
Coffee grounds are great odour and smell absorbers. This study even prepared activated carbons from spent coffee grounds!
All you need to do is thoroughly dry off your spent coffee grounds by spreading them out on a tray and leaving them under the sun for a couple of days.
You can then place the dried coffee grounds in your shoe cabinet, under your car seat or even in your fridge (especially after a durian party). To prevent spillage, you can transfer the dried coffee grounds into any porous bags used filter bags or even old socks.
6. Fun Art Projects
When brewed again, spent coffee grounds do produce a brown liquid. Instead of wasting a pack of instant coffee, you could reuse your coffee grounds for fun art projects or a quick painting:
Yes, you didn’t read that wrongly. You can even use your spent coffee grounds in cooking!
Coffee grounds can act as a tenderiser for your favorite meats. Unlike salt or vinegar, coffee grounds don’t overload your meats with sodium or acidity.
Simply rebrew using your spent coffee grounds, let it cool then soak your raw meat in the rebrewed coffee for at least 2 hours before cooking. You can add additional spices at this stage to marinate your meat at the same time.
Your brewed coffee grounds can be converted into a coffee rub that can be used as meat marinate. The acidity in the coffee grounds can help to amplify the flavor of your meat.
Here’s a quick recipe:
- Coat your meat with an edible oil of your choice.
- Lightly rub meat with coffee grounds, ensuring an even layer.
- Leave meat to marinate for at least 2 hours in room temperature or overnight in fridge.
- Cook meat in oven.
I shared 7 creative ways to reuse your spent coffee grounds, I hope you find them useful!
P.S. these apply to used kopi grounds as well, so don’t be so quick to dump your grounds after you have brewed your kopi!