15 Creative Ways to Extend the Life of Spent Coffee Grounds
Updated: Jul 7
There’s something rather saddening about the fact that delicious, aromatic grounds supposedly become useless once they’ve been used to make a single cup of coffee. Since our team is made up of dedicated coffee enthusiasts, it’s no surprise that we want to put forward some alternatives to this single-use attitude of these superb grounds.
We love the smell, taste and indeed the full sensory experience of these rich grounds and so, to us, ceasing the wastage of coffee grounds after they’ve been used to flavour our favourite beverage seemed like an obvious step to take.
In this blog, we’ll be killing two birds (or grinding two beans) with one stone - giving you guys an opportunity to exercise your eco-friendly principles, while also providing some ideas that you can use to have a crack at some new crafty hobbies.
Have a read below of our round-up of 15 fantastic ways to showcase these great grounds - with zero-waste uses ranging from giving your garden some extra nurturing, to homemade beautifying products, and even getting them involved in cooking main meals and puds. We’ll cheers to that.
Coffee has always been a popular ingredient in beauty products, and so there’s no reason why the grounds can’t feature in your homemade versions. (Although we doubt that the beauty products you buy from the shops use coffee grounds that they’ve already used to make a hot drink with).
Coffee grounds, even though they have already been used to make a brew, are brimming with beneficial properties including: enzymes to boost your skin, antioxidants and a luxurious smell. Plus, it also works wonders as an anti-cellulite, and it possesses great exfoliating properties. What’s more, along with properties to rival their chemical alternatives, these grounds bring a fab eco-friendly and natural addition to your beauty regime.
1. Caffeinated face masks
We mentioned earlier that coffee grounds are a cracking exfoliant - this is both due to its texture, and the fact that the caffeine within them helps to stimulate your cells, making your skin healthier and firmer.
The ingredients you’ll need are:
65g used coffee grounds
65g unsweetened cocoa powder
240ml of milk (either whole or almond work well, but whatever you choose, keep it unsweetened)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
Then, for your divine homemade coffee scrub, all you need to do is:
Mix the coffee and cocoa powder, then gradually add in the milk so that the mixture forms a paste.
Add in the lemon juice and honey, and mix well.
Then, when you’re ready, apply this aromatic face mask to your face (leave it on for about 15-20 minutes to let your skin soak up the goodness) - perfect for some extra self-care during your next long bath.
2. Natural home acne treatment
As coffee grounds are rich in natural antioxidants, they make for a brilliant refreshing facial cleanser. All you need to do is mix your grounds with a good dash of milk. Then apply this paste to your face and leave it for just under half an hour to work its magic before washing it away.
3. Natural home hair care
If you’ve got brunette or dark red hair, spent coffee grounds are your ticket to dazzling shiny locks (would you believe). Just make up a batch of strong coffee (by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water), then let it cool. When you’re next in the shower, you can just rinse the brew through your hair - it’s an easy, free and natural way to liven up your ‘do.
4. Flower beds
If your garden provides a home to beautiful blooms like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, or any other plants that are acid-loving, then you can spread a few used coffee grounds out on your flower beds. This is a great (and dead easy) way to show your plants a bit of extra love, in the form of these nutrient-packed grounds.
Coffee grounds also make for a fantastic addition to your compost as, along with releasing nitrogen, they’re filled with phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper - making them the perfect treat for healthy plants. Thanks to the fact that they quickly decompose, they will rapidly help to keep your compost chocka with nutrients.
Or, for those of you keen to show your houseplants some love, spent coffee grounds make the perfect booster to assist with the growth and health of your indoor plants, too. Just pop these grounds directly into their soil. The coffee grounds are well-balanced in key nutrients, so make for a great fertiliser that releases this goodness over time. Just pop in a few scoops once every 2-3 weeks.
7. Mushroom growing
Believe it or not, you can actually grow your own oyster mushrooms using old coffee grounds. If you buy yourself a mushroom growing kit (easy to grab online) for your kitchen countertops, these mushrooms will happily grow gobbling up your coffee grounds. It makes for a great activity for you to get the kids involved in, too.
8. Flea treatments
It’s a clever little life hack, this one. Coffee grounds actually (who’d have thought it) make for great, natural flea treatment for your pets*. All you need to do is rub some spent coffee grounds into their fur, then use the flea comb to brush your pet. This will then remove the grounds and any fleas all in one go. It’s all down to the fact that fleas really detest the smell of coffee, apparently.
9. Odour eliminator
Using your old coffee grounds, you can make your own zero-waste DIY odour eliminator pods. The powerful anti-odour properties of coffee grounds come from the fact that they contain compounds which are able to bind to any particularly strong, unpleasant smells.
Just compress the dried, used coffee grounds into tight little flat cylinders. Then, these clever little discs can be used to combat bad smells in your fridge, in the bathroom, car, kitchen, or by the bins.
Or, you could make a feature out of these eco-friendly deodorisers, by stitching a sweet little bag or finding a vintage mini drawer for your grounds to go in.
10. Super scourer
Dried, old coffee grounds make for a great extra helper when it comes to scrubbing stubborn stains from your kitchen pans. By sprinkling these grounds over the top of these tricky stains, they’ll act as a fantastic natural abrasive (rather than a chemical cleaner or wire wool), to help you quickly scour these stains.
11. DIY insect repellent
We mentioned it earlier with the flea treatment - insects are not a fan of the smell of coffee.
Just pop the grounds around any key spots in your house where you might have been having a problem with ants (or areas where you’ve noticed a lot of snails and slugs roaming in the garden). It’s the perfect easy and natural hack to keep these insects at bay.
12. Cold-brew ice cubes
If you’re looking for a way to shake up your iced coffee drinks, these flavoursome ice cubes pack a punch and look great doing it. All you need to do is use your old coffee grounds to steep in some cold water, then freeze this cold brew coffee in an ice cube tray. They make a cool (in both senses of the word) luxurious addition to your iced coffees, that don’t dilute the flavour like a normal ice cube would. Have a batch of these in your freezer ready for the start of the summertime.
13. Baking flavour booster
Just because these grounds aren’t able to make a full-strength coffee anymore, this doesn’t mean they’ve lost all of their flavours. On the contrary, the addition of a few splashes of coffee (just leave your grounds to steep in some hot water for about 15 minutes) to chocolate cakes is becoming increasingly popular. This is because it uplifts the flavour of the chocolate, making for a richer cake with a much greater depth of flavour.
14. Meat marinade
As with the hack above, the more subtle version of coffee’s flavour that you find in pre-used grounds makes for the perfect addition to any marinades that you’re using to flavour joints of meat. By adding in just a few tablespoons of these old coffee grounds, it will boost your marinade and infuse your meat with a mild smoky flavour.
15. Blind baking pastry cases
The next time a recipe asks you to blind bake a pastry case, instead of using rice or beans (and then promptly ruining them), why not use a load of old coffee grounds? Just cover your pastry with some greaseproof paper, then pour over the coffee grounds - this will act to hold the pastry in place, so that it keeps its shape when baked.
A quality cup of coffee, in our minds, is an absolute morning staple. So we’ve loved having the opportunity to share some ideas that will help you make the process a lot more environmentally friendly, in keeping with a devout zero waste lifestyle, while also extending the life of this wonderful foodstuff.
You can tell how much pride we take, and love we lavish, over our coffees - I mean, we’ve dedicated a whole blog post to taking care of the process’s waste products!
The Smarter Coffee machine is one further testament of our devotion to delicious coffee. This luxe, elegant and innovative piece of technology is designed to completely elevate your perception of a normal morning coffee.
This is no ordinary coffee maker, because the tools it provides makes it something rather special - its WiFi capabilities means that it boasts all kinds of clever features, including voice-activation (as it can easily be paired with your Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri). Through the app (or your voice) you can then use the Smarter Coffee to control the number of cups of coffee you’d like the machine to brew, as well as the strength of the coffee and whether you’d like it to be ground or filter. It’s designed to provide you with just as much, if not more, flexibility than if you were brewing it all yourself from start to finish.
So, if you share our love of the good stuff and want to invest in upgrading your homebrew coffees, have a gander at our online shop. There, you’ll find all sorts of nifty gadgets, that can provide you with a world of innovative kitchen hacks.
*We recommend always seeking help from a professional.