Zero Waste Coffee: 5 Creative Uses for Coffee By-Products

coffee beans uses

Beans / April 21, 2017

Chocolate Covered Espresso BeansMany home brewers share the common struggle of not being able to use every single coffee bean purchased. It’s nearly impossible. Whether the beans go stale or just aren’t any good, there always seems to be leftovers. Thus, I’ve compiled this list of 10 uses for old coffee beans, whole and ground, in order to put those leftovers to use and free some counter space.

1. Experiment with Brewing

Have you ever wanted to practice your pour over or experiment with brewing equipment without having to sacrifice your precious beans? Use those leftovers! Remember that the best indicator of a successful brew is taste, but playing around and exploring with old beans can be fun and insightful.

3. Get Your Artist On

Old Coffee Bean CandleEver seen the coffee bean mural in Moscow, Russia? The massive piece of art was constructed out of one million coffee beans and covers thirty square meters. You don’t have to cover the side of a building, but what about the side of a canvas or tissue box? Get your artist on!

4. Give Candles Class

You’ve probably seen a fair share of coffee, candle combinations on Pinterest and are tired of them, but these things are beautiful table pieces and invite a relaxing mood into any room. Check out this guide that I found and give your abode a new look and feel.

5. Call Your Grandmother

Old Coffee Bean Ground ScrubIf your grandmother is anything like mine, she’ll drink coffee that’s been sitting on the counter for two days. She has no problem buying a can of Folgers every now and then, but it would be just delightful if her loving family sent her a package of beans for her to use. Don’t judge the less picky.

1. Scrub Your Kitchen

Mildly abrasive and acidic, those old grounds will do well as a cleaning scrub. I’ve done this myself with immense success while trying to eliminate difficult stains and spots. Throw a bit of water or soap in the mix and your counter tops will look good as new!

2. Repel Invading Ant Colonies

Those pesky ants will never leave you alone unless you spread some old coffee grounds along the problem areas. Save your kitchen, save your garden, save your sanity. I’ve read this works with cats too.

3. Super Charge Some Compost

Ample amounts of phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, and, depending on the age, nitrogen can be found in old coffee beans, which will supercharge soil either by direct placement (short-term reward) or by compost investment (long term reward). Get gardening!

4. Repel Fleas

If you’re having a flea issue, consult a doctor. If your beloved pet is experiencing a flea issue, scrub their fur with coffee grounds and those pests won’t come around for a while. Added bonus, your pet’s odor will be absorbed by the grounds.

5. Reduce Stank

Coffee grounds do a great job of absorbing stank. One of the web’s favorite uses is placing a bunch of dry grounds into a container with an opening at the top, then placing the container in an area with significant amounts of stank. Let it be for a couple hours and the grounds will have sucked up the unpleasant aroma by your next return.