Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds? (Don’t Throw Them Away!)

You can’t reuse coffee grounds to make a fresh cup of coffee. But you can reuse used coffee grounds in other things like making scrubs, masks, etc.

Whether you grab your daily caffeine fix from a coffee shop or make a fresh brew at home, the coffee grounds get dumped in the bin once used. I mean, they have given away their deliciousness in the water. So, what else can be done with them? They aren’t soluble nor is there any flavor left in them.

Well, in this article we’ll discuss whether we can actually use the already used coffee grounds or not.

How Many Times Can I Use Coffee Grounds?

a close up of ground coffee

After you’ve used your coffee grounds, you can reuse them only once more. You can certainly not use coffee grounds to brew your cuppa again, but you can reuse them for non-edible purposes.

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages out there. It’s a natural drink with no artificial flavorings – unless, you add them in yourself to make it more palatable. Coffee starts off as a plant and then into our cups till eventually, into our garbage bins. But what if I told you they have other purposes?

You might be wondering if you can make coffee more than once if you’re trying to save money. Sadly, I don’t recommend it.

You cannot reuse the used coffee grounds for any edible purposes. Coffee grounds have already been stripped of most of the oils and chemicals, so you cannot use much of them to make enjoyable coffee again. If you do perhaps use them again, a bitter astringent cup of muddy water will be there but nothing close to actual coffee.

Can You Store Used Coffee Grounds?

You can dry the freshly used coffee grounds in the sun where airflow is good for a couple of days until the moisture has evaporated completely. You need to do this to make sure no mold or bacteria starts developing. Then, store them in an air-tight container.

Coffee is one such commodity that can be very expensive and cheap all at the same time. I mean all those specialty coffees go for hundreds of dollars a bag. So, why should they only be used only one time?

Now you might be wondering if we’re not supposed to reuse the coffee grounds that we’ve already used, so why is there a need to store them? Right? But there are other ways which I’ll talk later about in this article in which you can reuse your coffee grounds.

Facts Before Storing Coffee

So, in order to reuse the coffee grounds, you need to keep in mind a few things. That is:

  • Do not use old used coffee grounds which have turned blueish greenish or even whitish. They have mold in them.
  • Try and get your hands on recently used coffee grounds. This ensures no bacteria or mold has taken over the grounds.
  • Try not to store big giant bulks of coffee grounds. Keep on using them so that your stash is not too big.

Storing Coffee Grounds

Storing coffee grounds is not that difficult. It has the same principle as it when it’s fresh. You can read about how to store your coffee when it’s fresh in my last article here.

Firstly, just make sure the container is air-tight.

You don’t want any air to pass through it once stored otherwise, it can clump up and become moldy. Secondly, do not get the reused coffee grounds wet again after storing. The moisture will make them go bad. Lastly, it’s recommended not to store huge heaps of coffee grounds. Try and use them as the reserves exceed to avoid them from going bad.

How To Store Coffee Grounds

Here’s how to store your reused coffee grounds.

  • Place a dry newspaper or paper towel oon a wire cooling rack. The net pattern and gaps on the wire cooling racks allow them to dry fully.
  • Make a 6 cm spread which is about 2 – 3 inches thick in layer. Be sure not to go beyond these measurements.
  • Now take the tray and place them where a good amount of sunlight can directly shine upon them.
  • While this is happening, turn the layer every once in a while, to ensure that the sun dries even the finest of the grounds.
  • Change the newspaper or the paper towel daily to avoid any constant moisture in contact with coffee grounds.
  • Depending on the heat, the temperature and the quantity of your coffee grounds, this will take about 2 to 3 days. Sometimes it even dries within a day and sometimes it can take upto 4 to 5 days – all thanks to the humidity.
  • Once dry, they will look like freshly ground coffee.
  • Put them in an air-tight container and store them in a cold place.
  • You can place them in the refrigerator too.

Have a look at this video which I found on drying used coffee grounds.

Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds To Make Cold Brew?

You can reuse the used coffee grounds for a cold brew but only once. It will not give the same delicious flavors of cold brew that’s made with fresh ground coffee but will have a mix of flavors.

There are various methods of brewing coffee. One such way of brewing coffee which people rave about is cold brew.

For those of you who don’t really know about cold brew, it’s a way where room temperature water or ice-cold water is used to brew coffee instead of hot nearly boiling water.

This temperature change of water extracts much more complex flavors of coffee while reducing acidity drastically. Cold brew coffee is also not as bitter as regular coffee. And people who get hooked on cold brew coffee don’t turn back to the normal way of brewing coffee. You see, the flavors get much brighter, smoother and you can notice even the slightest of flavors that the coffee grounds have.

But what about reusing coffee grounds that are already used?

You can reuse used coffee grounds to make cold brews one time. Since cold brew doesn’t use nearly boiling water, some of the good flavors of cold brew can still be tasted. However, the bitterness would be enhanced and the astringency of the brew would be quite high. This is because of over-extraction.

When you let coffee grounds be in contact with water more than the required time, the brew turns out to be bitter and very acidic. The same rule applies here. Since most of the coffee compounds are gone in the first brew. The remaining coffee compounds that are left in the used coffee grounds are just the ones that will make it more bitter.

fresh coffee grounds getting in the porta filter.

Here is the table of the nutritional content of used coffee grounds.

Contents Amount in 1 cup
Calories3
Carbohydrates0g
Caffeine5 mg to 10 mg
Protein0.3 mg
Sugar0 g
Sodium0.2 mg
Calcium0.1 mg
Iron0 mg

What To Do With Leftover Coffee Grounds?

You can do a lot with leftover coffee grounds, use them in gardening, scrubs, compost, tinting fabrics, and reducing puffy eyes.

You can’t really reuse coffee grounds for drinking purposes but if you still want to, cold brew is the option that you can go with. But, what you can truly do is reuse the coffee grounds in many other ways.

They’re as follows:

Gardening

Coffee is naturally rich in acids. If you add already used coffee in the soil for plants, it will not only hydrate but provide essential nutrients in the soil which will be good for the plants. You see, ground coffee makes for an amazing fertilizer as it contains many key nutrients required for plants growth. I talk about this more in my other article.

DIY Scrubs

Coffee is one of the biggest suppliers of antioxidants for us. So, why not use that for your skin? You can mix freshly used coffee grounds into your scrub to remove dead skin and make your skin look younger and brighter.  Or if you like, you can make your own scrub with coffee.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Take 1 cup of coffee grounds.
  • Mix in 5-6 tbsp of coconut or jojoba oil.
  • Then add 3 tbsp of white sugar.
  • Mix well and taada! Your own coffee scrub is ready.

Use this scrub as the caffeine that is left in the coffee grounds will help repair your skin. Note, however, that this might not work and it’s probably best to contact a dermatologist first before applying anything on your skin, especially if you have any skin issues.

Compost

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which is very good for the soil. You can reuse the coffee grounds by mixing them with your compost. They will disintegrate in the compost pile and will make for very healthy soil.

the word CAFFEINE is written on small white tiles with three roasted coffee beans on the side

Tinting Fabric

This is a cool and fun thing that you can do with your used coffee grounds. A light or neutral top would be stunning with a sepia tone? We have all experienced coffee stains on our crisp white shirts. (When done intentionally) dyeing light fabrics with coffee gives them a lovely antique look.

Put your cotton item in water in a pot and soak it for several hours. Make the water opaque by adding enough leftover coffee grounds. Once it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. Place in the washer for 30 minutes before wearing.

Reducing Puffy Eyes

The caffeine from the coffee is responsible for waking us up when we sip on it in the morning. So, what if we use it for waking our skin up? The residual caffeine in the coffee grounds will help you get rid of puffy eyes instantly. If you have puffy eyes, apply coffee grounds and then wash them off once dried. It also helps get rid of dark circles.

So, now you can use the already used coffee grounds in so many ways.

My Two Cents

Whenever you buy expensive coffee and brew it at home, there’s always an urge to repurpose the coffee grounds. You can’t start brewing coffee again with that. If you do, you will end up with bitter and over-extracted coffee.

If you still can’t resist and want to brew coffee from already brewed coffee, go for the cold brew method. That will still give you enough flavors to call a cup of coffee, but if not, you can always add sugar.

You see, you cannot reuse coffee grounds for edible purposes. But you can surely reuse them for many other things like compost, gardening, tinting fabric and so much more. So, next time when you brew coffee and you don’t know what to do with your coffee grounds, use these ways to repurpose it.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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