5 Creative Ways to Use Leftover Coffee Grounds

Did you know that on average 18 million tonnes of used coffee grounds go into the landfills each year? Spent coffee grounds also emit a large amount of methane - a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the largest contributor to global warming.

At Alpaca Coffee, we're trying to pioneer a way for all of us to consume coffee in a more environmentally friendly way. On top of our sustainable, plastic-free and compostable packaging, we roast our specialty coffee in Dorset using locally collected coffee grounds. Learn more here. 😉

Thus, we are firm believers that with a little creativity, each of everyone of us can help save the planet one cup of coffee at a time!

Here are 5 creative ways you can use your leftover coffee grounds:

1. Nourish your plants

leftover coffee grounds as fertiliser


Did you know coffee grounds contain important minerals that plants love? To name a few, nitrogen, calcium, potassium! These minerals can help improve the health of soil, giving your plants better living conditions. Coffee grounds can also repel snails and slugs. 

Simply add your used coffee grounds to your plants and give it a mix. Acid-loving plants that love coffee include:

  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Camellias
  • Hydrangeas
  • Daffodils
  • And the list goes on!

To use your grounds for a variety of other plants, give your coffee a rinse to wash away the acidity.

2. Grow mushrooms

growing mushrooms using coffee

Coffee grounds are a great substrate for growing mushrooms and act as a pasteuriser. Mushrooms play a crucial role in the cycling of nutrients, which makes them perfect for recycling a wide range of organic waste streams. To get started, make sure to keep a bucket aside where you can start collecting your spent coffee.

You'll need:

  • 3kg fresh coffee grounds
  • 600g pasteurised straw
  • 300g Oyster mushroom spawn

Check out this in-depth guide on how to get started on your mushroom-growing journey.

3. Exfoliate your skin

leftover coffee body scrub

Using coffee as a skin exfoliant has many benefits, including improving blood circulation, removing dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of cellulite, and many more! Over time, using a coffee exfoliant on your body will brighten up your skin and reduce dullness. Here's an easy recipe for a glorious coffee body scrub using your leftover grounds:

  • 1/2 cup ground coffee
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • Any essential oil you enjoy

Mix together and store in a glass jar. Use on your body 1-2 times a week during your shower, exfoliating in circular motions.

4. Scour your pots and pans

clean pots and pans using coffee

When your pots and pans are looking like they need a proper scrub down, and a sponge just won't do the job, adding a small amount of coffee grounds can help! The grounds help to create the abrasion needed to slough off residue, and takes pressure off your wrist.

Simply add your grounds to your sponge with some soap, scour and wash away. Et voila! Just be careful not to rinse too much coffee down your sink to prevent blockage.

5. Dress your salad

leftover coffee grounds salad dressing

Did you know you can use coffee in your salad dressing?! Coffee grounds add a deep, complex flavour that can help make your salad come alive - works as a great accompaniment to grilled aubergine, shrimp or pork.

Here's our recipe for leftover coffee salad dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon coffee, very finely ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup balsamic or sherry wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add ingredients to a bowl, whisk together and top over a salad of your choice. Store in a glass jar in the fridge up to a week.

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