Nothing beats a cup of fresh ground coffee in the morning. Whether you use a coffee maker, coffee pod machine, French press or cafetiere, your ground coffee beans are an inevitable by-product of your daily beverage routine.
We’ve been asked many times what to do with coffee grounds and how to dispose of coffee grounds. So, we thought we’d put together a list of all the things you can do with your used coffee grounds. From coffee ground mushroom growing to grounded coffee scrub, there are loads of ways you can reuse your spent coffee grounds for the greater good.
What is ground coffee?
Ground coffee is the result of using roasted coffee beans to make a finer ground up coffee that can be used in coffee machines, coffee pods, cafetieres and stovetop coffee pots. Hot water is poured through the ground coffee to make our favourite morning beverage.
Uses for Coffee Grounds
Coffee Ground Scrub
Now bear with us here. We’re not suggesting you bathe in coffee or add the used coffee grounds to your bath. For those of us who use an exfoliator, coarse ground coffee makes a wonderful exfoliant agent. There are plenty of recipes online for ground coffee scrub but using coconut oil, olive oil or baby oil mixed with coffee grounds makes a moisturising, natural body scrub. You can add salt or sugar to soften the ground coffee and add scents such as vanilla or essential oils to compliment the coffee.
Coffee Grounds as Fertiliser
Continuing the theme of using coffee grounds in the garden, used coffee grounds work well as a soil improver and gentle fertiliser. Fresh unused grounds are not ideal as they may have a higher caffeine content, but used coffee grounds spread thinly are a good source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Coffee grounds for plants act as a slow-release fertiliser when used in moderate amounts and raked into top soil to avoid clumping.
Coffee Grounds in Compost
The nitrogen in coffee grounds is helpful for your home compost bin. Make sure that you balance your compost with a mixture of green compost material, such as vegetable peelings, grass cuttings and other plant material with brown compost material, which includes paper, cardboard, straw and newspaper.
Make Coffee Logs
See our recent blog on How to Make Coffee Logs for more information on how to do this. You needn’t worry whether your coffee is the best ground coffee, any coffee grounds will do so long as they are not flavoured.
Ground Coffee as a Garden Insect Repellent
Do coffee grounds deter slugs? Unfortunately, not. We can report that plenty of people advise on using coffee grounds as an insect repellent for all sorts of pesky garden beasties but in actual fact they have very little deterring effect. Sorry folks.
Growing Mushrooms in Coffee Grounds
A variety of mushrooms can be grown at home using fresh coffee grounds, some substrate to mix them with and mycelium spores. You’ll need a container with some airholes, a cool place with fresh air flow and a couple of weeks to produce tasty fungus that will rival your supermarket mushrooms.
Scour Pots and Pans with Ground Coffee
The coarse nature of coffee grounds works wonders for scrubbing stains, stubborn grease and baked on food from your kitchen pots and pans. Use a small amount of coffee grounds in the palm of your hand, add washing up liquid to make a thick paste and apply to the area in need of attention. Rubber gloves are probably a good idea, if you have some.
Can You Put Ground Coffee Down the Sink?
This is a hotly contested topic. When asked how to dispose of coffee grounds a plumber once told me to rinse them down the sink with hot water as they make an excellent exfoliant of your pipes. Someone recently told me they’re had a blocked kitchen sink due to ground coffee build up.
To be on the safe side, maybe rinse the occasional pot of used coffee grounds down the sink but don’t make it a daily habit. That would probably be the most sensible suggestion we have. If you spread your used grounds across your compost, sink and garden you can avoid waste and keep your home and garden healthy.
As you can see, the uses of coffee grounds are many. Think twice before you pop your used ground coffee in the bin and think about keeping a coffee grounds container handy. You can make coffee body scrub Christmas presents for the whole family, feed your tomatoes and scrub your pots with those grains so make sure not to waste them.