It can be heartbreaking to find a bag or tin of delicious coffee at the back of a cupboard that has sadly passed its best. Similarly, if you take great pleasure in brewing coffee at home, you may be wondering if you really have to throw your old coffee grounds away.
So, are old coffee beans good for anything?
Well, while they might no longer be able to brew a good cup of coffee, but they can still be used in a surprising number of ways.
Read on for some creative inspiration on how to give those tired beans a second lease on life!
Old Coffee Beans Can Give Your Garden a Boost
Old coffee beans and used grounds may not contain the full spectrum of nutrients that they once did, but they still hold a lot of good stuff for plants and soil health.
In fact, old coffee beans are a great source of nitrogen, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, and magnesium, which are all enormously beneficial to your favorite plants and flowers.
As an added bonus, coffee attracts helpful earthworms but repels pesky slugs and snails.
To make the most of all of the nutrients at your disposal, you can also drop remaining coffee beans and grounds in your compost pile, super-charging your gardening efforts.
Using Old Coffee to Create Sweet Treats
If you like coffee-flavored desserts then old beans could help to feed your sweet tooth.
Old coffee beans that are no longer ideal for making espresso will still offer plenty of flavor for making things like coffee cake, tiramisu, or chocolate-covered espresso beans.
If you like making baked chocolate-flavored goodies, why not experiment by adding a little coffee to enhance and deepen the taste of the cocoa?
Of course, it is important to assess whether the beans in question have simply passed their best or whether they have actually gone off.
If they are passed their sell by date and have lost much of their richness, then they could still be useful, however if they have gone damp and moldy or exhibit any kind of funny smell then you’ll want to throw them away!
Ground Coffee Makes a Great Skin Exfoliant
Saving beans that are old (rather than off) or reaching for your recently used coffee grounds can actually create a wonderful antioxidant-rich coffee body scrub.
In recent years, the idea of harnessing common kitchen ingredients into skincare has been growing in popularity, so you may have already heard of this one!
If working with old beans, you’ll want to grind them just as you would ahead of making a brew.
Next, mix the grounds with some olive or coconut oil and rub the exfoliating mixture on your skin using gentle circular motions.
You can also experiment with adding sugar or honey to your concoction and see what suits your skin the best.
Always be wary not to over-exfoliate your face as the skin is more delicate. However, used sparingly, a coffee scrub is a wonderful way to keep your body glowing.
Using Old Coffee to Tenderize Meat
If your love for coffee is matched by a passion for grilled and roasted meat, then a surprising culinary opportunity awaits. Coffee beans can actually be used in the kitchen for tenderizing meat!
Coffee contains natural acids and enzymes that make quick work of breaking down the muscle fibers that might otherwise leave your meat a little chewy.
Simply mix them with your favorite seasoning, chilli, and herbs and massage them into the meat. Then let the meat sit for a few hours before cooking.
Coffee Beans For Delightful Home Decor and Crafts
As any coffee connoisseur will know, coffee beans don’t store too well when exposed to sunlight—which is a pity because they look so beautiful when displayed in glass jars.
However, this means that old coffee beans are ideal for displaying while the coffee that you actually intend to use remains stashed safely in a cupboard.
Taking the idea of artful creations even further, you can also leverage the incredible pigments in coffee to get crafty.
Steeping old ground coffee beans is a simple way to create brown paint or dye for artwork and coloring clothing. As long as the resulting mixture is strong enough, you can even use it to darken your hair!
Using Coffee Grounds to Keep Pests At Bay
It can be interesting—or even comforting—to know that while we adore the aroma of coffee, some critters that we’d rather not have around can’t stand the smell.
Many of the pests that we’d usually use chemicals to repel can be actively discouraged with old coffee beans. These include mosquitoes, beetles, slugs, fleas, cockroaches, and fruit flies.
To send a clear message to pests that they are unwelcome, place uncovered bowls of coffee grounds around your home or sprinkle the grounds on the floor outside.
Old coffee beans in a low clay or ceramic dish can also make a charming base in which to nestle tealight candles.
Using Ground Coffee For Kitchen Cleaning
Just as coffee is great for making a skin exfoliant, it can also be used to create an effective scrub for kitchen cleaning.
Whether tackling dirty dishes or giving your oven a once over, coffee grounds offer a useful level of abrasion while being gentle enough not to scratch enameled surfaces.
If you prefer to avoid chemical cleaning products and like to keep things natural, old coffee beans will certainly beef up your kitchen cleaning arsenal.
However, do keep in mind that coffee stains, so never use it on porous surfaces!
Coffee as a Deodorizer
Coffee beans contain nitrogen which combines with carbon in the air to act as a natural deodorizer. To make them even more effective at this task, you can dry out the coffee beans in your oven on a very low heat.
To deodorize your refrigerator, place a bowl full of dried coffee beans inside the fridge overnight.
If you’d like to keep your laundry smelling fresh, place dried beans in a fabric pouch or old sock and tuck them among your clothes and linens.
This impressive odor-removing trait is also effective for your skin if you’ve been handling things like garlic. Just use the skin scrub we mentioned earlier to do the job.
FAQ – What can I use old Coffee Beans for?
There are many things you can do with old and outdated coffee beans. Here are some suggestions:
1. Old Coffee Beans Can Give Your Garden a Boost – old coffee beans are a great source of nitrogen, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, and magnesium, which are all enormously beneficial to your favorite plants and flowers.
2. Using Old Coffee to Create Sweet Treats – Old coffee beans that are no longer ideal for making espresso will still offer plenty of flavor for making things like coffee cake, tiramisu, or chocolate-covered espresso beans.
3. Ground Coffee Makes a Great Skin Exfoliant – Saving beans that are old (rather than off) or reaching for your recently used coffee grounds can actually create a wonderful antioxidant-rich coffee body scrub.
Yes! It’s best to use ground coffee though as coffee is rich on nitrogen, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, and magnesium, which are all enormously beneficial for your soil’s health.
Yes, used coffee grounds can actually create a wonderful antioxidant-rich coffee body scrub. Always be wary not to over-exfoliate your face as the skin is more delicate.
Yes! Coffee contains acids and enzymes that break down the muscle fibers that make your meat a little chewy. Mixing coffee beans and/or ground with your favorite seasoning, chilli, and herbs and massage them into the meat. Let sit for a few hours before you BBQ.
I’m Joel, an espresso-loving coffee nerd. I got into coffee because I spent a lot of time in Milan as a kid and started liking coffee waaaay too young. I’m all about making sure espresso is treated with the same care as any other coffee – it’s not just a quick drink!