What to do with the used coffee from the coffee maker?

Have you ever stopped to think about how much coffee we have leftover from our coffee maker? Coffee grounds are a very abundant waste, which we humans generate in large quantities every day and which in most cases ends up in the garbage. It is a severe mistake, because used coffee grounds have many and varied uses. We must know what to do with the coffee grounds: we can give them a second life and use them as fertilizer for the plants or many treatments.

If you are interested in this topic: congratulations. That’s why you’ve come to this page, and we’re going to explain to you what used coffee is for and what you can do with all those leftovers that accumulate. Let’s make a more sustainable planet together!

What do we mean by used coffee?

Let’s start at the beginning: when we talk about used coffee, we always refer to the coffee grounds that are left over after being moistened and filtered with water to prepare our favourite drink. It doesn’t matter if they are loose or in a capsule: their composition and condition doesn’t vary.

Generally, used coffee grounds are generated in the form of wet discs, as in the form of a tablet, which we take out of the filter holder of our espresso machine, or the remains of the ground coffee from the filter of our drip coffee machine. Another way of obtaining them, although more difficult, is to open the used capsules and remove the grounds from the inside with a spoon.

The dry coffee that has not been used, such as the leftovers from some grinding, is not considered as coffee remains because they cannot be applied the uses we reviewed in this article.

And now we’re going to see how to recycle used coffee and what can be done with the coffee grounds leftover from the coffee maker.

Used coffee grounds: uses and suggestions

The first thing we should tell you is that if you don’t want to recycle the coffee grounds, at least never throw them down the sink. Throw it in the trash if you’re going to get rid of it.

Leftover coffee from the brewer is terrible for your plumbing and pipes, and if you have the habit of rinsing out your brewer’s filter and letting the coffee grounds down the drain chances are that in a few months you’ll have your pipes clogged up and have to call a plumber. Don’t make this mistake.

How to use used coffee for plants

That used coffee is good for plants is something that has been known since time immemorial. Using coffee grounds as fertilizer helps your plants grow.

Used coffee serves as fertilizer for plants in various ways, but we will highlight two in particular:

  • As an organic fertilizer to mix with the soil.
  • To create the compost or compost pile of a lifetime.

Firstly, using the remains of coffee as an organic substrate is a perfect replacement for fertilizer, and also in a natural way. You can use it in your garden, or directly in pots and small plants you have at home. Pour the coffee grounds directly around your plants, together with the soil compost.

On the other hand, we can use the coffee grounds to make compost, mixing it with layers of different components. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether you pour it wet or dry. The use of compostable coffee capsules is a good measure and a magnificent example of this treatment we are discussing.

To further illustrate the use of coffee grounds as a substrate, here is a short video summary with some helpful tips from a professional point of view. If you have a small plot or piece of garden at home, do not hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity:

Other ways of using coffee grounds in the garden are, for example, creating small barriers around your plantations to prevent the passage of slugs and snails (caffeine is toxic to these animals) or using the grounds as food for the worms in your compost. But don’t overdo it. A small amount will be enough.

How to use used coffee for your face

We can take advantage of the coffee used as an exfoliant for the face or our skin. Logically we cannot apply it directly, but we will have to make a natural coffee exfoliant with the help of these remains.

Generally, this exfoliant with coffee is made by mixing ground coffee (or coffee grounds, in our case) with olive oil in the right proportion to form a paste with a consistency similar to those of industrial creams.

Of course, you can always buy an exfoliant with coffee already made, but it’s not the same. We are looking to save and contribute to the sustainability of our planet, aren’t we?

And use the leftover coffee for hair?

Well, that too. Coffee is a natural ingredient that can help strengthen and nourish your hair, and also help darken it if that’s its natural colour. You can learn more about how to use coffee for your hair in the guide we just linked to, which we’ve already put together on this subject.

How to use coffee grounds against cellulite

Coffee alone does not help to remove cellulite, but it does help to firm the skin and is an excellent complement to specific anti-cellulite treatments.

A well-known application of coffee used for cellulite is to make a mask or layer that is rubbed against the skin.

Again, to make these pastes or homemade coffee remedies, you can use ground coffee (this is what you will find in almost all the standard recipes and explanations). But we prefer to go the ecological way and replace the regular coffee by the leftover coffee from the coffee maker. Let’s get to work!

How to make soap from used coffee

Another practical use for used coffee is to use it as an essential component for making coffee soap.

To make used coffee soap, you can take any homemade coffee soap recipe, and substitute the coffee ingredient (usually ground coffee powder, or soluble coffee) with the coffee grounds you have stored.

Ingredients you need to make soap from used coffee.

  • Coffee grounds.
  • Neutral soap (you have to grate it first)
  • Olive oil

First, mix everything and put it in a bain-marie to dissolve and mix everything. It should take on a pasty consistency.

When your mixture has a density of cream, take it off the heat and put it into a mould. If you don’t have soap moulds at home, you can always use aluminium foil.

Finally, leave it for a few minutes until it cools down, and you can safely remove it from the mould.

If you are not clear about how to make soap from coffee grounds, here is a video that explains it in more detail:

OK, now that you know what to do with the coffee that’s leftover from the coffee maker, it’s time to put these tips into practice and contribute with your grain of sand to environmental sustainability. Are you up for it?