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10 Useful Hacks To Repurpose Old Coffee Beans

3 November 2021
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Coffee beans past their expiration will not make you sick; they will just lose their flavour and intensity. If you’ve got more coffee beans than you can brew or are about to throw away those that have expired, repurpose them instead. Old coffee beans can accomplish wonderful things around your house if you give them a chance.

Whether you have excess coffee beans you can’t finish or old coffee beans lying around, here are 10 useful hacks to get more value out of your old coffee beans without tossing them. Besides the beans, you can also use old coffee grounds for these tricks to get some extra mileage out of your coffee, reduce waste and save money.

1. Ward Away Pests

Mosquitoes, lizards and cockroaches hate the smell of coffee, so old coffee beans can be ground and used to repel these pests. Place coffee grounds in uncovered bowls or if you’re targeting an outdoor area, sprinkle them around for a natural insect repellent.

2. Make Your Plants Happy with Natural Fertilisers

potted plants in the sun
Nutrient-dense coffee grounds also serve as a natural fertiliser for your plants. Photo from Bonnie Kittle.

Old coffee grounds contain nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium—great minerals for plant growth. Simply sprinkle coffee grounds onto the soil in your garden or in their pots as a natural fertiliser to help your plants thrive.

3. Absorb Unwanted Odours

The mineral content in coffee grounds reacts with gases in the air, helping to eliminate nasty odours by absorbing them. Deploy this natural deodoriser in places like your fridge and freezer to neutralise any strong smells.

You can also fill small linen bags or old pantyhose with dried coffee grounds and use them as air fresheners in musty cabinets around your home. To dry them, spread out coffee grounds on a baking tray and leave them in direct sunlight. You can also let them dry out in an oven that is cooling down after a bake.

4. Remove Strong Smells From Your Hands

man washing hands
Use coffee grounds to remove any strong smells that stick to your hands even after you’ve washed them with soap and water. Photo from Fran Jacquier.

Ever handled strong-smelling ingredients such as onion, garlic and fish, then struggled to remove their lingering scent from your hands? Good news: you can rub coffee beans or powdered coffee on your hands, then rinse with soap and water to get rid of the smell. Easy and effective!

5. Pamper Your Skin

Take a leaf out of the Korean beauty industry’s book by incorporating common kitchen ingredients into your skincare. Make a coffee scrub by combining ground coffee with a blend of yoghurt, sugar, oil and honey to make a scrub you can use for your face, lips and body.

Ground coffee doesn’t just provide the right scouring texture. Its caffeine, minerals and antioxidants benefit your skin too by reducing wrinkles and any inflammation.

woman touching her face
Make an easy DIY facial scrub using coffee grounds. No nasty ingredients involved! Photo from Ron Lach.

Here’s a simple coffee and sugar scrub recipe to try for your face or body. Simply combine the following ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can store it in a glass jar for up to a month.

  • 6 parts ground coffee
  • 3 parts granulated sugar
  • 1 part olive or coconut oil

6. Scrub Your Pots, Pans and Sinks

Like how ground coffee is great for your skin, you can use it to treat household items that need an extra scrub. Sprinkle old coffee grounds over pots, pans, sinks or other utensils that are crusty or grimy and scrub to remove the dirt. Remember to rinse thoroughly afterwards.

7. Boost Your Compost

compost
Make better quality compost for your garden by adding coffee beans into them. Photo from Lenka Dzurendova.

Composting helps recycle organic matter such as food scraps and leaves to form compost, a valuable, nutrient-rich fertiliser for your garden. Compost bins are growing more popular among households as more people become aware of the importance of reducing waste.

If you have a compost bin, throw your old coffee grounds into it to boost the quality of your compost. Research has found that compost with coffee grounds is more nutrient-dense than compost made with kitchen waste alone.

8. Repair Scratched Wooden Furniture

Coffee can dye things brown, an ability that comes in handy when your precious wooden furniture suffers a scratch and exposes light-coloured wood. Although brown markers and wood paint are available in hardware stores to address such issues, you can also use coffee grounds to dye the exposed wood brown naturally.

To do this, add a little hot water into used coffee grounds and make a thick paste. Using a cotton bud, rub the paste into the scratch. Let it sit for 5–10 minutes before wiping off with a clean cloth. If you need a darker colour, repeat the dyeing process after a few hours until you reach your desired shade of brown.

9. Coat Espresso Beans with Chocolate For a Snack

If you have excess coffee beans that are still good, you can turn them into a delightful homemade snack. Melt chocolate over low heat (Note: make sure your pan is completely free of water, or your melted chocolate will get ruined) and mix in the coffee beans. Once coated in chocolate, let the espresso beans set and cool on a tray lined with baking paper before digging in.

10. Marinate Meat

marinating meat
The natural acidity that we love in coffee beans also comes in useful when marinating meat. Photo from KTRYNA.

Another way to incorporate excess coffee beans into your food is to use them as a marinade for meat. Grind them with an electric coffee bean grinder to get coffee grounds, then mix the coffee grounds with spices such as chilli powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt and pepper to make your very own flavour-enhancing meat rub.

The natural acids and enzymes in coffee beans also help break down tough muscle fibres and proteins in meat, making it softer and tender to the bite. Be sure to give your dry rub at least two hours to work its tenderising magic before cooking your meat.

Make The Most Of Your Coffee

As you can tell, coffee beans are incredibly versatile. Whether it’s for housekeeping, beauty or cooking, coffee beans or coffee grounds can come in handy when you need them the most.

If you’re looking for more ideas on what you can do with your coffee beans before they expire, why not sign up for De’Longhi Rewards? By signing up, not only will you get exclusive member-only discounts for our partner roasters, but you’ll also receive a free downloadable recipe e-book. This e-book will teach you how to craft all sorts of delicious coffee-flavoured drinks from Coffee Mojito to Rose Cappuccino and more.

Join us now and look out for the recipe e-book download link in your welcome email!

This article features De'Longhi's Electric Coffee Bean Grinders

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