Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds? Yup, Here’s How…
Are you a coffee snob? Do you grind your coffee yourself and savor your fresh brew each morning – black, with no additives like cream or sugar? If you answered yes, reusing coffee grounds is not for you. If, however you put a lot of stuff in your coffee and-saving a few cents is your ultimate goal – then reusing coffee grounds is worth experimenting with…
The easiest way to know for sure is to try it and see. Step 1 – Brew a single cup of coffee and enjoy it as you usually would. When finished with the first cup, immediately brew a second cup with the same grounds and compare the brew strength and flavor. The second cup should clearly be weaker than the first cup, but if you don’t mind the result, then there you go! If you are not happy with the result and two cups is your limit then wait a day before moving on to phase two of the experiment.
Step 2, brew a single cup of coffee with fresh ground coffee and enjoy as you normally would. When finished, brew a second cup of coffee using the same grounds, but this time add a teaspoon of fresh ground coffee to the used grounds. The extra teaspoon might just make the second cup acceptable.
If you still find the second cup too weak…Step 3, add two (2) teaspoons of fresh ground coffee to the used grounds from your first cup and compare the strength and taste. Eventually, you will find how much fresh ground coffee to add to the used grounds to make this exercise worth while.
DO NOT use the same grounds from the day before. Twenty-four hours is too long to let warm coffee grounds sit and ferment. The risk for bacteria, mold and fungus growth is unacceptably high. Coffee grounds should only be used a second time immediately (or closely) following their use for the first brew.
This experiment is pretty easy to carry out using a French press. A standard recommendation is to use three tablespoons of coffee for every cup of water. If this is the ratio you use, then making a second cup each morning with used grounds from the first cup could work out for you. If the second cup is tasty by just adding a tablespoon or two to the used grounds, then you save a tablespoon or two of coffee each morning with no noticeable loss of flavor. If you can use the same grounds for your second cup and add in less than three tablespoons of new grounds for the second cup, you have saved yourself 1/3 to 2/3s the cost on your second cup. What a deal!
Another Option With Two Coffee Drinkers
I like my coffee a lot stronger than my wife. If you are in a similar situation, brew the first cup for yourself and then use the same grounds to immediately brew a second cup for your partner – adding in enough fresh grounds to make everybody happy.
If Saving Money is Your Goal
As a practical note, you might also consider simply to brew a larger batch of coffee all in one go. You’ll get a slightly different result from brewing a single cup, but, I find that I use way less grounds for a 2-4 cup pot of coffee than for 2-4 individual cups.
Cost to Buy a Cup of Coffee
Obviously, you save money by making your coffee at home rather than buying it on the way to work. It is almost always cheaper to make things at home rather than buy them somewhere else. Depending on where you live and what you drink, if you’re buying coffee, you’re spending between $1 and $5 per cup. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price for a cup of coffee in 1919 was about 30 cents. A century later, the average price hit $5.90
Cost to Make Coffee at Home
Brewing a cup of coffee at home costs you between 16 and 18 cents per cup according to AOL Finance. The major expense is the coffee. Take the price of a can of coffee, or a bag of coffee beans, divide by the number of servings, and that is roughly how much it costs to make each cup. In my research, I saw that cheaper coffee can cost you as little as a dime a cup to make at home. Boutique coffee beans can cost you fifty-cents or more per cup. The average, however, was somewhere between fifteen and twenty cents a cup to brew it yourself. That’s not so bad, is it?
This means that if you opt to buy coffee at a cafe, you’re spending between $5 and $25 a week — and therefore, $20 to $100 a month, and between $240 and $1,200 a year — on coffee. Someone who brews at home is spending around $50-$60 a year on coffee. Yes, the difference between $60 and $1,200 is pretty significant. Obviously, making your own coffee is an opportunity to save some money. Using the grounds twice to make a second cup each day will save you a little more – like ten or twenty bucks a year. You have to decide if it’s worth it to you for an extra twenty bucks per year…
Recycle Coffee Grounds to Get a THIRD USE!
Whether you use your coffee ground once – or twice to brew your morning coffee, you are going to end up with coffee grounds to dispose of. The only way around it is to drink instant coffee. When you discard your spent coffee grounds, don’t just throw them in the trash…
How to Compost Coffee Grounds
I dig a hole in an out-of-the-way corner of my yard – about 18 inches wide x 2 feet deep. Every morning, I dump my wet coffee grounds into the hole. The amazing thing is, the hole never fills up. It turns out nature quickly assembles the correct balance of worms, microbes and enzymes that the coffee grounds decompose faster than I can fill the hole. How cool is that? If, after a year or so the hole does eventually fill, I will just top it off with dirt, dig another hole and start over.
You might ask yourself why not just scatter them all over the garden and don’t bother digging the hole in the first place. Read on to learn why…
What About Used Coffee Grounds Gardening – Don’t Do It!
You might think you squeezed every last drop of caffeine out of those grounds, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that there can be up to 8 milligrams of caffeine per gram of used coffee grounds, depending on how long the grounds steep in the water. That means that after you brew your morning coffee there is still enough caffeine left over to harm your garden plants and the worms and microbes in the ground. Adding coffee grounds to your garden is the last thing you want to do.
I tried this myself in the garden on one of my vegetable beds. This clearly did not qualify as strict scientific research. I was just trying to quickly put this information to the test and satisfy my curiosity. Once they cooled, I dumped my daily coffee grounds on the surface like a mulch – exactly like most organic gardening guides tell you to. I have to admit, I liked the dark rich look coffee grounds gave to the soil as I quickly created a dark layer of coffee compost over the test area.
Do Used Coffee Grounds Hurt Plants?
And the result? The growth of pretty much everything in the coffee bed became noticeably worse within two to three weeks of application. Plant growth slowed, some developed brown and yellow leaves, some dropped their leaves entirely and died. Seedling germination came to a complete standstill. Some of the plants looked OK, but none of the plants in the coffee group proved better than the areas that were left alone. I was just adding organic material. What could possibly be the problem?
A 2016 study in the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening said it all in the title: “Applying spent coffee grounds directly to urban agriculture soils greatly reduces plant growth.” That was true even when they composted the coffee grounds with other organic waste. Another study accidentally found that compost with coffee grounds kills earthworms. Gardeners are repeatedly informed that adding organic material attracts helpful bacteria. Well, coffee grounds have antibacterial properties and an insecticide. So, there go your helpful bacteria, microbes and earthworms.
That’s why I compost my coffee grounds in a separate hole in a back corner of the yard. The happy little colony of microbes and enzymes have become suited to their diet of pure coffee grounds. The microbes in the rest of the garden are apparently not adapted for such a rich, acidic diet. I’m not advising you to stop trying to recycle your spent coffee grounds. Just don’t dump them directly on the ground in your garden with your flowers and vegetables. There are a dozen other ways you can recycle those used coffee grounds for a second – or third use…
Other Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Cooking – Use coffee grounds to add a little caffeine boost to your cooking. Coffee grounds can be used in several different ways. As a marinade, you can add grounds to red meat for a nice flavor and to help tenderize the meat. Coffee grounds can also be added to dishes like chili and chocolate cake to enhance flavors. Use your imagination…
Odor Eliminator – Dried coffee grounds can be used around the house to eliminate odors. You can spread out the coffee grounds on a baking sheet, and allow them to dry. Then…
- Around the House – Put the grounds in bowls and position them around the house in areas where odors are a problem.
- Use in the Refrigerator – Use it like you would baking soda to eliminate odors in your refrigerator and freezer.
- By the Kitchen Sink – Use them on your hands before washing after chopping onions or garlic. The grounds will help to remove the smell from your hands.
Make Soap – Coffee grounds can be used to make a deep cleaning scrub bar for you gardeners with dirt under your fingernails. Just melt a bar of glycerin soap and add approximately 1/3 cup of grounds. The mixture can be shaped into a bar using a mold or poured into a cup or small bowl to left to harden. It is wonderful for exfoliating and scrubbing as well as removing odors.
Insect Repellent – Used coffee grounds can be used as an eco-friendly way to control insects and pests.
- Ants – Sprinkle dried grounds directly on anthills and any places where ants are entering your home.
- Cockroaches – Place moist coffee grounds in a jar lined inside the top with double sided tape. The scent of the grounds will attract the roaches to the trap and they will fall in. The tape will prevent them from getting out.
- Fleas and Ticks – While bathing your pet, rub a cup of grounds into your dog’s fur and then be sure to rinse well. The grounds will not only help kill fleas, they will make the animal’s fur smooth and silky.
Repair Furniture – Coffee grounds can be used to disguise scratches in dark wood furniture. Make a paste from dried coffee grounds and a small amount of cooking oil. Rub this into furniture to minimize the appearance of scratches. You should test a small area of furniture first for color.
Cleaning – You can avoid cleaning products with harsh chemicals by applying old coffee grounds and baking soda onto a cleaning cloth. Use this to scrub away stuck-on food from counters, dishes, pots and pans. Used grounds are abrasive, but they aren’t so harsh that they will damage the surfaces in your kitchen. This mixture is good for scouring counter tops, but be aware that it can stain certain surfaces.
Health and Beauty – Coffee grounds can be extremely useful in home beauty treatments…
- Exfoliate Skin – Fine coffee grounds can be added to olive oil and used to gently exfoliate – removing dead skin cells to reveal the fresh, healthy looking skin underneath.
- Combat Cellulite – When added to soap or oil, fine coffee grounds are thought to help fight cellulite in two ways. The caffeine is thought to enhance fat metabolism and increase circulation. The abrasive grounds are thought to increase circulation and help break down subcutaneous tissue.
- Scalp Treatment – Try mixing used coffee grounds with your favorite conditioner and gently scrubbing your scalp for a few minutes. Not only will it feel great, it will increase circulation to your hair follicles possibly stimulating hair growth.
Can you reuse coffee grounds the next day – Absolutely not! Warm coffee grounds are a breeding area for bacteria, mold and fungus. If you reuse your coffee grounds, do so immediately, then promptly discard the used coffee grounds.
Reused coffee grounds and caffeine – Brewing does not remove all of the caffeine from coffee grounds. Depending on the fineness of the grind and the steep time, there can be almost as much caffeine left behind in the grounds as ended up in your cup of coffee.
Coffee grounds for indoor plants – Not Recommended! Coffee grounds are acidic and few plants like acidity. Warm coffee grounds breed mold and fungus. Caffeine has been shown to inhibit germination and stunt root growth. Why bother? Just dig a hole outside and compost coffee grounds separately from your plants and other compost.
Best way to remove coffee stains – To remove coffee stains from clothes, cold water is often all that is needed. Check out this link for more information on the Best Way to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet, Clothes, Teeth, Mugs & More…