Clever Coffee Hacks: Don’t Let Your Leftover Coffee Grounds Go To Waste
We’re a little coffee-crazy. We love to brew it, smell it, sip it and savour it in any and all ways possible. But did you know that coffee has bounteous uses besides bringing us pure unadulterated, caffeinated joy? No? Well, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of what you can do with your leftover coffee grounds – for the culinary kings and queens, the green thumbs, the little ones at home and lovers of DIY.
Uses for Leftover Coffee Grounds
In the Kitchen
Cooking and baking
While coffee is the staple beverage item on the breakfast list (and lunch list too), it’s also a delicious addition to your cooking ingredients list. Now, you may already associate coffee with sweet and dessert-style recipes, like our classic tiramisu, but you can actually incorporate coffee into savoury recipes too for rich, earthy and smoky flavours. Check out some of our amazing coffee recipes that you can try at home.
Cleaning & Odours
Soaked your pots and pans and still struggling to clean away the mess? A few coffee grounds on a cloth or rag can be really effective to scrub off those stubborn hang-ons. Just be careful not to use coffee on dishes that stain easily, like ceramic.
Coffee is also your pal when it comes to getting rid of bad smells. Simply keep a little dish of coffee grounds in your fridge to absorb any funky scents, same as you would with bicarb.
Keep another little dish on your kitchen counter so you can rub your fingers with coffee after cutting garlic and onions. The grounds will absorb all that garlicky odour.
For Your Green Thumb
Food for your Flora
Leftover coffee grounds can be used in your garden in a multitude of ways. Coffee has properties that, if used correctly, will have great benefits to your plants and soil. You can even use coffee to brighten up your flowers!
The colour of Hydrangeas for example, is influenced by the pH level in the soil, so if you add coffee grounds to your soil, the pH level will lower and your flowers will turn blue – oooh!
Chucking your leftover coffee grounds in your compost pile is as easy as throwing them in the bin. Don’t have a compost pile? Now is a good time to start. Having a compost pile in your home is not only beneficial for your plants, but it’s another useful way to manage your waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill – yay!
Coffee grounds add nitrogen to your compost pile, which all plants require for healthy growth and reproduction. Categorised as a ‘green compost material’, it’s essential that you combine an appropriate amount of ‘brown compost material’ to your coffee grounds eg. wood chips, dry leaves and saw dust. The ideal ratio is 4:1 (brown to green).
Coffee grounds can also be sprinkled directly onto the soil and raked through as a slow-release fertiliser, which adds natural and organic matter to the soil. This helps to improve aeration, drainage, and water retention.
It will also attract our little earthworm friends to naturally till your soil to loosen it, as well as add essential micronutrients like potassium and phosphorus.
Just like coffee gets our rears in gear in the morning, it gives plants a natural push too. Leftover brewed coffee, or for those with coffee machines with leftover brewed coffee in the drip trays, can be used to give acid-loving plants a little growth boost. Pour the cold leftover coffee into your plants once a week to give them a little extra encouragement, but be careful not to overwater them with coffee – if your soil is too acidic, your leaves will start turning yellow or brown.
Another debatable use for coffee grounds is that it can deter unwanted garden pests. While coffee may be an irresistible aroma to the human shnoz, it’s an unpleasant smell for our feline friends with hypersensitive olfactories. Combined with another strong scent such as orange peel, the coffee grounds will ensure that cats from around the neighbourhood will stay out of your gardens.
We say debatable use, because who doesn’t want a garden full of puddy tats?
Do It Yo’self
DIY for the home
Don’t have a garden? Fret not our coffee-loving pals, we have some nifty uses for your leftover coffee grounds too. If you are like any other sane person on this planet, you’ll love the smell of coffee. And what better way to pay homage to our beloved coffee than by having little scented coffee surprises around our homes? Double-up some clean stockings and fill them with your collected grounds from your coffee grinder (if you aren’t going to store them for later use), tie it off and voila – you have a homemade coffee air freshener!
You can also transform your leftover coffee grounds into a neat and delicious scented candle to give off more coffee aroma to your home. It’s a super-easy and fun activity that you can do at home on a rainy day, or any day really, cause making candles is fun. See how to do it here.
Scented goodies not your vibe? Get crafty and use your leftover coffee grounds to transform your wood into old fashioned weathered timber – aarg!
All you’ll need is a tablespoon of coffee, steel wool, white vinegar and a jar to place all of your ingredients in. Place ingredients into the jar and leave for 24 hours. Once the steel wool has adopted the coffee colour, fish it out your jar with a plastic glove (or a plastic bag if you’re just not that organised) and wipe it over your wood, re-dipping when necessary. Once you have done the first coat, allow to dry for an hour before getting your second coat on. Abracadabra, you have 200-year old looking wood in 24 hours!
DIY for the bod
You guessed it – coffee is your bod’s best friend too. The properties in coffee do wonders for your skin, and the granular consistency makes it perfect for exfoliation and getting into those pores.
For your face, simply use leftover coffee grounds with a bit of coconut oil and tea tree oil, and gently scrub your face in circles. Your face will be left feeling smooth, energised, and smelling like tiramisu.
Similarly, you can make our little moisturizing hazelnut body scrub blocks. These guys are amazing for your skin, and so easy to make and store.
DIY For The Kids
Even the kids can get involved in the leftover coffee ground excitement! Mixing up your coffee grounds with a bit of flour, water, salt and cold coffee can make the base for versatile doughs.
Bring those T-Rex’s, Stego’s, and Raptors to life by cooking up some epic little homemade fossils for your kids to make at home.
If your kids aren’t mad about our prehistoric predecessors, you can use shells, barbies, and whatever animals your little ones are crazy about to create fossil imprints – let the imagination run wild! See how to make them here. Alternatively – you can hide little treats, toys and objects inside the dough mixture by creating balls and baking them, which your mini archaeologists can bury in their excavation site, dig up and crack open!
You can even make your own playdough with your leftover coffee. This version is really easy to make, and while it may taste pretty grim, its edible – which means it’s safe for your little ones to experiment with.
Regular brewed coffee can even be used for watercolour painting! You’ll only have the colour brown, but still a great, non-toxic and natural paint. Just dip a paintbrush into your brewed coffee, and stroke onto paper or card – it will dry in the same fashion as watercolour paint, with a faded textured look.
Modern Day Conveniences Call For Modern Day Solutions
Being Friendly To Our Environment
The ever-growing demand for convenience means that there are new products consistently being developed to meet our needs. The coffee capsules, for example, is one such product that has been developed for consumer’s convenience. The nature of these singular pods, however, means that we have more packaging and more waste.
Some of our favourite brands have designed their packaging with social responsibility at the forefront. vida e caffé for example, have produced their coffee capsule range using 100% recyclable material, and in partnership with Truffex, will produce plastic timber with the leftover pods – nice! All you need to do is make sure that your empty capsules are returned to your nearest vida store and they’ll do the rest.
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