If you love and treasure coffee as much as I do, you will agree with me when I say that throwing away used coffee grounds hurts.
That being said, I did actually do some extensive research and experimentation with my used coffee grounds. And turns out that coffee, as I suspected, has more uses than one.
Can you reuse coffee grounds for cold brew?
You can, or rather you definitely should try recycling your used coffee to make cold brew. For a cold brew, the coffee is seeped into the water for about 18 to 24 hours, and therefore, using used coffee grounds makes absolute sense.
This gives water the time to squeeze out every last drop of flavor and caffeine from the coffee.
Do used coffee grounds contain caffeine?
A mediocre flavor is generally acceptable for most coffee lovers, but a lack of caffeine content is serious business. Fret not, reused coffee grounds also contain a significant amount of caffeine, depending on the brewing method used.
According to a study conducted by the Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Physiology, School of Pharmacy, University of Navarra, used coffee grounds contain 3.59 to 8.09 milligrams of caffeine per gram. In comparison, 1 gram of fresh coffee houses 13.5 milligrams of caffeine. It’s not as bad as you expected, is it?
In fact, if you used quality beans and a shorter brewing method, it’s not bad at all. The coffee made from used coffee grounds would be just as good as your morning pick me up!
Preserving Used Coffee Grounds
If you wish to reuse your grounds after preparing yourself a cuppa, make sure that you let them cool down first before you start on the next one. The coffee is over-extracted or burnt when you instantly reuse your grounds resulting in a very bitter and astringent brew.
I would also recommend covering your used grounds as they cool down to keep the flavor in. As I already mentioned, go for a simpler, not so strong coffee, non-espresso beverage when reusing your grounds.
Trying to make espresso with used coffee is like making a cold brew from scratch in an hour. It will never work.
Another thing to be careful about when reusing grounds is to make sure you use them up within the day. You want to wait long enough for them to cool down, but not long enough to invite bacteria and mold to create a settlement in your cup.
Other than for a second cup, there are many other ways you can put your used coffee grounds to use. However, before we get to the good stuff, we need to learn more about drying and storing coffee.
How to Dry Out Used Coffee Grounds
The best way to dry used coffee grounds is to lay them out in the sun on a baking sheet or dry paper. This is a fool-proof, risk-free method, but it may take between 2 to 4 days depending on the exposure to daylight.
If you’re looking for a faster process, you can always use an oven. Place the coffee grounds in a shallow baking tin lined with a baking sheet and oven bake them at the lowest temperature possible. While this method is much faster, you will need to keep an eye on the coffee grounds the whole time to avoid burning them.
How to Store Used Coffee Grounds
Once you’ve dried out the used coffee grounds, you can easily store them for up to 2 years, provided they are kept completely dry.
For small quantities, I would recommend reusing one of the glass mason jars in your kitchen – there’s no reason to not make this a little recycling activity on the whole.
For larger quantities, you may store the coffee grounds in plastic containers or vacuum-sealed bags. Whichever container you decide to use, just make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned and dry before you put your grounds in.
Reusing Coffee Grounds for a Second Cup
The short answer is yes, it’s possible to make a second cup of coffee (and only a second, more than that is not recommended) with your used grounds, but as always terms and conditions apply. If you are very particular about the taste and quality of your coffee, recycling grounds is probably not for you.
The second cup will almost always be slightly weaker and less flavorful, but not even close to the worst cup of coffee you’ve had. The difference may not be that obvious if you make use of a sufficient amount of creamer and sugar for your next cup.
That’s not all, there’s even better news for those looking to minimize waste and reuse their coffee grounds for a second time.
Not only can you make another cuppa with your used grounds, but there is also a myriad of other things you can do with them around the house or to pamper yourself.
Other Amazing Uses for Used Coffee Grounds
Now for the best part, coffee contains a number of compounds within it that can come in handy with lots of your daily chores. Some of these uses can also minimize expenditure and waste.
Reused Coffee grounds candle:
Here are some other best ways to reuse your used, dried out coffee grounds.
Coffee Grounds as Bug Repellent
Unlike us, insects don’t love the smell of coffee. There are certain compounds in coffee that are highly toxic to them. You can use that to your advantage.
Simply sprinkle dry coffee grounds in the infected areas of the house and around the perimeter or put the grounds in bowls and set them out on the patio to keep the bugs away.
Face Scrub with Used Coffee Grounds
Not many people know this, but coffee is great for your skin. It makes an extremely effective skin exfoliator that you can use to remove dirt and dead skin cells from your face, body, and lips.
The caffeine content in coffee grounds is also an antioxidant that can protect your skin from sun damage and increase blood flow.
Simply mix the coffee grounds with coconut oil and a pinch of honey and use it to scrub the affected area gently in circular motions. Rinse off with cold water and repeat once or twice a week for best results.
Used Coffee Grounds Hair Shiner
Coffee is not just great for your skin, but also for your hair. Running the used grounds through your hair can revitalize it and give it a nice sheen.
Just rub the coffee grounds in as you would conditioner after shampooing and rinse off with cold water. Do this regularly for long-lasting results.
Used Coffee Grounds for Plants
The used coffee grounds can also be used as fertilizer for your plants. You can add the grounds to your soil mix or sprinkle it over the soil.
Just make sure that it’s close to the roots of your plants so they can reach out and grab the nutrients (coffee grounds contain several like nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium) and the caffeine.
You can also create your own fertilizing mist by mixing the used grounds with warm water and pouring them into a spray bottle. Trust me, it will leave your garden looking fresh and lush, just like you after a cup of refreshing coffee!
Coffee Grounds as a Deodorizer
Tired of almost passing out every time you open your trash can? Reusing coffee grounds is your solution. Coffee is great at absorbing bad odors and making any space smell fresh and aromatic.
Simply fill up an old sock (preferably made with a thin fabric; pantyhose works the best in my experience) and hang it inwards in your dumpster. You can also use this technique for storeroom closets and even your refrigerator.
For indoor settings, I would recommend using cheesecloth or an old handkerchief to bag your used grounds. Do keep them towards the furthest end in your closet or refrigerator to avoid spillage.
Coffee Grounds for Cleaning
The exfoliating qualities of coffee also work on most metal and stone surfaces. Say goodbye to all the soiled pots and pans, and messy countertops!
Simply take some of the used coffee grounds and scrub the surface with them in circular motions. The tough stains will start to wear off soon enough, and you will have a shining surface all around.
After every cup of coffee, I look at that aromatic tablet of caffeinated joy left behind and it breaks my heart to throw it away.
The used grounds always look like they have so much more to give!
All dramatic emotions aside, those are just a few of the methods for recycling coffee grounds that I’ve personally tried and would recommend to everyone. From face packs to fertilizers, coffee is a blessing that just keeps on giving.
Moreover, providing your coffee grounds with a second life doesn’t just feel great, it’s also good for the environment and can help you save a significant amount of money.
What are you waiting for? Get saving today!