Everybody needs a little pick-me-up before facing a day’s work. While coffee is the go-to morning drink for many people, there’s no doubt that it can be a bit of a mess to make before indulging in its rich, caffeinated goodness.
But, fear not, there are many other uses for the grinds from your wake-up cup or midnight oil that might not seem obvious at first. These tips aim to give you the most out of those soggy leftover grinds.
**Medical warning: Some tips in this article require coconut oil and possibly oil from other types of nuts. Do not use if you are allergic to nuts.
1. Garden fertilizer and pest repellent.
Coffee grinds have a handful of uses for your vegetable garden, flower garden, or both. For one, they are great pest and small mammal repellents, especially when mixed together with a bit of rosemary oil, oregano oil, or orange peel.
If you have roses, azaleas, camellias, or other acid-loving plants in your garden, then coffee grinds, mixed with some grass or plant matter, can make for an excellent fertilizer that is rich in the potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium that these plants need to bloom.
For the vegetable gardener – your carrots will thank you for using some coffee grinds in the soil you sow your carrot seeds in. The coffee grinds will give your carrots a boost while growing, as well as keep pests and small animals away, especially when using some orange peel or rosemary oil.
As with any fertilizer, always be sure of what plants and vegetables are acid-friendly and what are not. It is often the case that no two plants need the exact same care, and it is important to make sure that the acidity of the soil and fertilizer is at the right level to ensure your plants and vegetables come out looking and tasting fantastic.
2. Composting your grinds.
Good for you if you compost already! If you don’t, why not start now with your leftover grinds? Coffee grinds are great for any compost heap, as they are, again, rich in nitrogen and potassium, which plants require to thrive.
Placing your grinds in the compost is also a smart plan because these grinds can attract worms to your compost pile, and worms are a crucial part of any thriving compost pile. Worms use coffee grinds as an easy-to-digest source of food, which will help the compost become richer in nutrients for plants and animals alike.
3. Facial scrub and hair conditioner.
Oh, come on. It’s not that weird. Coffee grinds are soft enough to not damage your skin, but are tough enough to buff out dirt and oils from your face.
You can even do the same with your hair. To do so, mix some finely-ground used coffee grinds in with your conditioner in your shampooing routine for softer, stronger, and more manageable hair.
4. Odour-killer in your fridge.
Nobody likes a stinky fridge. When your roommate’s Pad Thai/science project becomes too much to bear, you can use a bowl of coffee grinds to absorb some of the smells from your refrigerator for an inexpensive, eco-friendly deodorizer.
5. Meat marinade.
Freshly brewed coffee grinds can also make for a great meat marinade, especially on a barbecued steak. All marinades need an acid to tenderize and loosen the meat, and since coffee grinds are naturally acidic (but not overly so), they make an ideal marinade for steaks, pork chops, and ribs.
First, you’ll want to brew a strong drip pot or French press. After the coffee is finished, take the grinds and coat the meat with the wet, used grinds. Let the meat sit for a while (2-3 hours is best), and grill away.
If you’d prefer to use a dry rub instead of a wet marinade, freshly ground (but not brewed) coffee is also ideal for this. Mixing together ⅔ cup of finely-ground coffee, about a half cup of pepper, and a few tablespoons of kosher salt makes an excellent dry rub, especially for steaks and ribs.
6. Make antique paper.
When’s the last time you sent a letter? It’s a fun thing to do with family and friends near or far, but printer paper can be so boring. Luckily, coffee can be easily used to give a vintage, warm appearance to any bland, boring piece of paper.
Simply brew a pot of coffee (the tone of your paper depends on how strong you brew your coffee), and place a sheet of paper on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to roughly 450º F, and gently pour the coffee into a corner of the baking tray. Be sure not to pour directly over the paper. The coffee will slowly soak into the paper, and when it is covered completely, place the tray inside the oven for just a few minutes to dry it.
All you need now is a quill pen, an oil lamp, and a carrier pigeon for that good old nineteenth century feeling of writing a letter!
7. Anti-cellulite treatment.
Caffeine, a powerful anti-oxidant, is particularly useful in reducing the appearance of lumpy cellulite in your swimsuit areas. When used often and over a long period of time, it can even outright get rid of it, so you may want to consider making it a part of your daily routine.
Coffee grinds, when used with in an exfoliating way with coconut oil and a bit of sea salt, can be mixed in a bowl and scrubbed on with a hard brush to nourish and tighten the skin in these problem areas. Scrubbing your skin with a hard brush in circular motions will help increase the flow of your blood and tighten the skin up, allowing for blood to flow better in these areas.
So, there are obviously a good number of reasons to consider keeping your coffee grinds instead of throwing them away. Whether it’s in your garden, on your skin, or in your home, there’s always a use, somewhere and somehow, for those pesky grinds.
The benefits are numerous – you can reduce waste in your home, offer more natural remedies to common problems, and you get to smell that sweet scent of coffee so much more often than just brewing it.