What do you do with your used coffee grounds at the end of the day? Most people leasing commercial coffee machines that we’ve spoken with do the obvious: throw the filter and the spent coffee straight in the bin.
But are you wasting a useful commodity? We’ve scoured the internet to find the best ways you can use old coffee grounds. Combine some of these top tips with our suggestions for recycling your takeaway coffee cups, and
How to use leftover coffee grounds in your kitchen
If you’re running a commercial food and drink business, you’re almost spoilt for choice. If not, you might still find enough uses here to take your old coffee granules home with you.
As a deodoriser
- Pop a bowl of used coffee grounds in the fridge. It’ll help neutralise bad odours and maintain a fresher smelling kitchen. Remember to change the contents at least once a month though.
- If you regularly prepare smelly foods like fish, or cutting onions, you’ll know how hard it can be to remove the odours from the fingertips. Grind used coffee into your fingers before washing in the usual way, and the odours should disappear sooner.
To help with cleaning
- Clean your countertops and tiles. Coffee grounds can be abrasive enough to make a difference with your kitchen cleaning regime. Mix some grounds into soapy water and scrub at surfaces to remove tough stains. Be careful around the grout though…
- Clean your grill. Hard-baked food and grease can be tricky to remove, but grainy, soapy water can work a treat.
- Clean your pots and pans. But only if they’re stainless steel or ceramic – nothing that will scratch or stain.
To add to meat
- It seems strong coffee can help tenderise meat; let it marinate in cooled coffee run through your used coffee grounds overnight
- Alternatively, you can use the grounds with various herbs and spices for seasoning, to enrich the flavour.
How to put used coffee to use in your garden
- Used coffee grounds have an almost neutral pH value and add invaluable nitrogen, magnesium and potassium to the soil. You can use it in several ways.
- Straightforward composting. Add the used grounds straight to the compost heap. You do need to watch out for ratios though – coffee grounds plus other so-called green matter (freshly cut grass and other kitchen scraps) should make up no more than 10% of your compost pile, and ideally much less than that.
- Apply directly to the soil. Spread it around and it’ll act as a layer of mulch. Don’t build it up too much. Not only will your garden plants benefit from the breakdown of organic, nitrogen-rich matter, but worms love the stuff. And the more worms, the better.
It’s claimed that adding coffee grounds to the soil around hydrangeas will change the pH value of the soil and, in turn, the colour of the flowers. It’s also claimed that used coffee grounds will deter slugs, snails, ants and even cats… even if none of these alleged benefits work out, the soil will still thank you.
In your café
- That gardening goodness applies back at work, too. Instead of putting cut flowers in water, add a coffee-rich soil to the vase to keep flowers alive for longer, and offer a more attractive environment for customers.
- We’ve saved our favourite for last. It’s the one you’re least likely to do, but the one that we think most ingenious. Used coffee plus water = non-toxic, environmentally friendly sepia-toned watercolour paint. Yes. Great for kids, enjoyable if you’re arty…and if you have artist contacts or customers, why not commission them to do a coffee watercolour of your business to hang on the wall?
Finally, even if you’re not going to put these tips to use yourself, you can still help others. Dry coffee by spreading it out on a baking tray in a warm (but switched-off) oven, and bag it up for customers. Alternatively, done right, used coffee grounds can be recycled and turned into biofuels. If your company gets through enough coffee, you might be able to become a bio-bean partner and do your bit for the environment.
If you’re a fan of these environmentally friendly ways to recycle used coffee, you might like to combine these top tips with our suggestions for recycling your takeaway coffee cups.