If you love coffee but you’re not of the instant freeze dried or the Nespresso parties, then chances are that at the end of the day you have used coffee grounds sitting around your house. In our household, my partner drinks fancy coffee which he gets given at work, while at work he spends a lot of his time hanging out at trendy cafes. At home he uses a hand coffee grinder, and carefully measures the weight of the coffee and boiled water he adds on a tiny set of electric scales. He does this while giving me a lecture on the origins of the beans, the process of roasting and the expected taste. I drink tea. This coffee obsession got me thinking that it’s a shame that once a brew has been extracted from those carefully prepared beans, the wet grounds are generally headed for the bin. Here are some excellent uses for coffee grounds:
1. Add it to your compost.
Coffee grounds contain potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium and nitrogen. The nitrogen gives bacteria energy to process your disposed organic matter faster, turning it into some fresh compost to put back into your garden. Use after about 3 – 4 months break down.
Spread your coffee grounds on a flat baking tray and dry out in a low oven. Like the old baking soda trick, a bowl of this stuff in your fridge or freezer can absorb bad smells. When you’re chopping something strong smelling like onions or garlic, scrubs your hands with some dried coffee grounds to remove the smell. It’s apparently also good for getting rid of cigarette smells too.
3. Help grow carrots.
Carrot seeds are ridiculously tiny and can be hard to plant. I’ve often grown a twisted mass of 5+ carrots because I just tossed the seeds in the ground. Mix your carrot seeds with some dried coffee grounds to help manage them for planting, but also to deter root maggots.
4. Insect repellent.
Apparently slugs and snails hate coffee grounds. Sprinkle a barrier around plants you need to protect. I’ve used this around kale plants and it’s worked really well. Also to deter ants sprinkle a coffee ground barrier or dump some on top of the nest. It won’t kill them but they’ll move their nest somewhere else.
5. Plant food.
Plants which prefer an acidic soil, or soil which is between ph 3.0 to 5.0 love a bit of coffee grounds sprinkled around them. These are things like Camelias, azaleas, rhododendrons, rose bushes, citrus trees and blueberry shrubs. Adding coffee grounds under hydrangeas will encourage blue flowers. You can also steep used grounds in water for a couple of days to make a liquid feed for these plants.
6. Cat repellent.
I like cats, despite being horribly allergic to them. But if you have pet cats or wandering cats that like to have a go at some of your plants, surround them with some coffee grounds and a bit of orange peel.
7. Brunette boost.
Allegedly steeping used grounds in hot water and then rinsing through your hair can improve your hair colour. I’m not saying it’ll cover greys, but I will say that this will make my partner more attracted to me.
Those coffee grounds are gritty. Apparently having an old scrub with the stuff is great for removing dead skin and can also help improve blood flow and encourage tighter, healthier skin.
9. Cellulite reducer.
There are a number of ‘recipes’ for this, but popularly you mix a ¼ cup of coffee grounds with either an egg white or a tablespoon of olive oil, apply to your areas of concern, wrap with cling film and wait a few minutes. Then go have a shower and wash it all off. Do this a couple of times a week for best results. Here’s hoping…