While working as a barista at the bar counter, one of the most frequent questions I hear from customers is, “What do you do with coffee dregs?” Each shift, we dispose of more than a kilogram of spent coffee grounds. Can you reuse the grounds to make another beverage? Definitely not, this coffee is no longer suitable to use. When coffee is mixed with water, the extraction process takes place. It means that in the course of brewing, the water is saturated with coffee nutrients and aroma. Brewed twice, the coffee will have a barely perceptible flavor – you’ll just get transparent and bitter water. In fact, coffee grounds are natural organic matter that can be reused and recycled. They can be utilized in a garden and for skincare. They can also be helpful while cleansing your kitchen utensils or tidying the house.
I like to use it as a soil fertilizer for plants grown inside and outside. After adding coffee grounds to the soil, especially a clay one, it becomes looser while its drainage capacity and air exchange improve. In addition, the coffee smell attracts earthworms, which also help loosen the soil, and repel various insect pests. As a fertilizer, coffee grounds are rich in macro- and micronutrients. They contain potassium and phosphorus that promote good flowering and heavy fruiting. Nitrogen activates rapid plant growth, and copper helps resist diseases. The total amount of nutrients in coffee sediments is about 2–3%, so they can hardly be considered a full-fledged fertilizer, but the use of grounds as organic plant nutrition is quite justified. For about 3 years, I’ve been fertilizing the soil for roses that grow next to my house, and it seems to be quite beneficial for them.
The second thing I like about coffee grounds is using them as a body scrub, but there is one drawback to it: some coffee particles can be too large and may scratch your skin. So such a homemade scrub cannot be applied to your face and neck. There is one more thing: freshly-collected dregs can color your skin. This effect is invisible in people who have a dark complexion, but those with light skin should be careful. I often mix some dried coffee grounds with my shower gel and scrub the blend around my body in light circular motions. Dead skin particles are exfoliated, and my skin becomes fresh, elastic, and soft to touch thanks to blood rush. In addition, after such a procedure, I smell of coffee like a true barista.
In fact, I’m deeply interested in the subject of recycling the products we use every day. I think people act selfishly and irrationally while using something for a few minutes and just throwing it away. Here are a few more acceptable ways to use coffee waste. As an abrasive cleaner, coffee particles help cleanse dirty objects easier. You can sprinkle slippery sidewalks and paths around your house with coffee dregs to make them non-slip. You can also keep a plate with dried grounds in the refrigerator as a good absorbent of unpleasant odors.
Used coffee is a healthy by-product, and you don’t need to get rid of it. There are multiple ways of using it to replace substances that are not environmentally friendly like fertilizing soils, controlling pests, and sprinkling slippery roads. Coffee can also replace some of your chemically-overloaded beauty products and contribute to a healthier lifestyle. If you don’t want or don’t know what to do with spent coffee grounds, you can always add them to the compost heap. This will significantly improve the quality of your compost, contributing to a healthier garden and a healthier planet.