Uh oh…did you run out of coffee beans and are desperate for another pot of coffee? Then you might be wondering if you can brew more coffee with the same coffee grounds. There’s good news and bad news with this though. The good news is that, yes, you can brew the same coffee grounds more than once.
The bad news is that it’s going to be rather disappointing. When coffee is first brewed from your hopefully-freshly-ground beans, all the acids, sugars, oils, and proteins that are first in it are extracted which is what goes into making a primo cup of coffee. All the good stuff has been used up so unless it’s an utter emergency and you need more coffee now, while you CAN brew the same grounds again it doesn’t mean you SHOULD. You’ll have a very bitter, dry, and dirty-tasting cup of coffee in your mug.
Ah, but waste-not-want-not, right? You definitely don’t want to brew the same coffee grounds again even though you can. Instead, you should read on to find out what you can do with those used grounds to repurpose them. You’ll find plenty of inspiration below!
How to Re-Use Coffee Grounds
Again, if you truly love coffee, we must insist you refrain from using it again. But if you simply must reuse it, you should make sure you do the following things:
- Give the ground time to cool. If you use them while they’re still hot, they will give off a burnt flavor.
- Cover them up during the cooling. This traps the rest of any lingering flavor in so your re-brew won’t taste too horrible.
- Only reuse them once if you must. It’s not going to be a very tasty cup of coffee when you reuse your grounds (no matter how good the beans are that they came from!) over and over again. You’ll likely wind up pitching it, and then you’re wasting water too.
- With espresso, don’t tamp a second time. Because it’s a finer ground, they will clump together and tamping them even further will make it hard for the water to go through.
The Effects of Reusing Coffee Grounds
Think about the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. Are you picturing it, remembering it sip for sip? Yeah, that’s not going to happen if you reuse your coffee grounds. When you reuse coffee grounds, the coffee becomes further diluted, resulting in a bland or bitter cup.
If you’ve read our other articles, then you know brewing delicious coffee at home is an art form (and if you haven’t, please check them out!). You have to get that coffee-to-water ratio just right. There’s also the water temperature, the steeping time, and the brewing method you use. To truly say you love coffee, you should never reuse the coffee grounds to make another pot.
The first brew you make will have a ripe, complex, and perfectly acidic flavor. But the second time around, it won’t be as sweet. It will be a bit salty, bland, and bitter.
If you’re trying to conserve your coffee, then you should brew a bigger batch instead. You’ll use fewer grounds this way. Plus, if you do have anything left, you can freeze it. A handy hack is to freeze it into your ice cube trays and then use it to make frozen or iced coffee beverages. Not a bad idea when the weather turns hot!
As coffee lovers, we desperately advise you to never reuse your coffee grounds to make another pot of coffee. If you use lots of cream and sugar, you’ll be less likely to notice the souring of the flavors in that second go-around, but still. It’s almost a crime against coffee!
But if you won’t listen to reason, at least listen to science. Waiting to use those coffee grounds the next day opens up a whole breeding ground of fungus, mold, and bacteria to go into your cup. These microscopic things multiply fast and you definitely don’t want to consume them. Doing so could make you very ill!
Basically, if you do find yourself in an urgent situation, perhaps snowed in without a way to get to the store for more coffee, you COULD reuse your grounds, but only once and never after they’ve been sitting all wet in the coffeemaker for longer than a day. After that though, it’s really just a waste of water.
How Much Caffeine is Left in Used Coffee Grounds?
If you do reuse your coffee grounds, you’ll be happy to know that they still have plenty of caffeine. The Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Physiology at the University of Navarra did a study that revealed used coffee grounds have anywhere from 3.59 to 8.09 milligrams of caffeine per gram. Of course, the brewing methods and brewing times all have an impact on the amount of caffeine is in the coffee. Caffeine is highly water-soluble so just remember that.
Additionally, caffeine can get into reservoirs and waterways so be cautious about how you dispose of them. You should anyway simply because coffee grounds can clog up your pipes. You can read all about that here!
How to Store Used Coffee Grounds
We get it. These days, sustainability reigns supreme and finding ways to lessen our impact on the world is so important. But reusing those grounds to brew more coffee is not the best solution.
You can still make use of those used grounds to do many different things in your home, around the house, and even for beautifying! Used coffee grounds can be used artistically too. There are so many ways you can use your creativity to repurpose them. Whatever you do, just don’t subject yourself or others to subpar coffee by brewing with used grounds!
Before we get into the things you can do with those coffee grounds, here are a few tips for safe storage of it to keep bugs, mold, mildew, and other gross stuff from happening:
- Store coffee grounds in either a metal container or an air-tight plastic one
- Keep these storage vessels in your fridge or freezer
- Never keep them at room temperature or else they’ll grow mold
- Only freeze them if you don’t have much or aren’t going to use them yet
Now read on to find out how to use those used coffee grounds!
Alternative Uses of Used Coffee Grounds
If you don’t like creating waste, reusing your coffee grounds is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and get more mileage out of them. Here’s what you can do!
– You could use them for gardening!
The natural acidity of coffee grounds is a great advantage. When it comes time to plant your vegetable garden or to keep your flowers thriving, they can all benefit from coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer. Simply sprinkle those grounds on the soil where your plants are growing. You can also combine it with soil for a compost that’s most fertile for your new plants.
And, if you’re a true die-hard, you could even attempt growing your very own coffee bush. It takes a tropical climate with a high altitude or a greenhouse. It’s very tricky to do so don’t be disheartened if nothing comes of it, but it could be worth a shot.
– They’re great for removing or soaking in smells but…
Do you remember our article about storing your grounds in the fridge or freezer? If not, here’s a link to that so you can refresh your memory.
The bottom line is that coffee grounds can still suck nasty, stinky smells away even when they’re sealed up. That means the fish your spouse made for dinner last night or the thing everyone ignores breeding in the corner of the veggie drawer won’t make you want to retch every time you open the door to your fridge. It’s a great idea… BUT…
You might be tempted to take that air-freshening capacity to outside the fridge and freezer. Surely, you can use your coffee grounds to make an air freshener. Before you start dolling them up and doling them out for gifts, you should know your home will smell of coffee all the time. It might not be the fragrance you want to have permeating the air, just an FYI.
– You could also use spent coffee grounds to clean dishes
Got something stuck on your dishes? You can use coffee grounds to buff it off. They have a naturally rough texture so it’s a good abrasive element. To keep them from getting into your drain and clogging things up down the road, take a cleaning rag and fill it with the grounds. Then twist it up to secure the ends with rubber bands to keep the grounds from spilling out. Tada! Now you’ve got a cool coffee sponge to help you tackle stuck-on food!
– Used coffee grounds are great for skincare
Check your eye cream and some of your other beauty products. Chances are, you’ll find caffeine listed on the ingredient list. It’s great for natural remedies and if you just reserve those pricey gourmet coffee grounds, you can use them to beautify.
Not sure how to do that? Read on, though do remember to cover your drain to collect the spent grounds so as not to get a clog.
- Tighter skin! Coffee can tighten your skin with repeated use. It’s an ideal body oil/scrub because of it. Mix it with top-quality organic olive oil and massage it into your skin for results that compete with expensive skincare creams.
- De-puffed eyes! Some nights you just can’t shut off your mind. Other nights, you’re up late working, studying, or even partying. And if you’re a parent, you might not have truly slept in ages. Whatever has kept you from getting enough shut-eye, you can make a compress by wrapping cold coffee grounds in a towel and setting them atop your eyes. Kick back and set the alarm for 20 minutes. Then be amazed!
- Expert exfoliation! Dead skin can leave you with a dull complexion. Those layers of dead skin need to come off to reveal fresher, newer skin below it. To make the most of your facial cleanser, mix a little of those coffee grounds in it for gentle, effective, and natural exfoliation.
- Make soap! If you love crafts, you can make cool soaps with your used coffee grounds. It’s a natural deodorizer plus it tightens and de-puffs skin. It’s a little complicated, but if you like making soap, you’ve just found your calling!
– You can use spent coffee grounds on your wood furniture
Like classic wood furniture? It really adds warmth to your home. But it’s also prone to wear and tear over the years. Good thing those used coffee grounds can come save you. How can you use them to fix up your wood furniture? Read on!
- It can polish wood! But before you dump those coffee grounds onto your wood coffee table, make sure you soak them for a few hours. Then, you’ll need to filter the coffee out into a large mason jar. Mix a few tablespoons of this strained stuff along with a little olive oil (about 100ml should do it) for 30 seconds until it’s well-mixed and then let it work its magic.
- Fix scratches in wood! With the grounds and a little olive oil, you can buff away scratches on that wooden furniture too.
– You can use your coffee grounds to repel insects however…
Coffee grinds can also be useful to make bugs go away. Dried-out coffee grounds on your windowsills can keep them from coming in, but a better way is to use it much like you would use a citronella candle. You’ll want to let the old grounds dry out and then spread them on a surface that can resist heat (like an old aluminum pan). Add just a teensy bit of lighter fluid and light it up. You want the grounds to smolder, not burn like crazy, which will keep mosquitoes from pestering you on your patio during your outdoor barbecue.
Roaches seem to love the stuff. So if you’re in an area prone to those awful things, better watch out or you’ll wind up with more of them. Gross!
On another note, used coffee grounds can keep slugs and snails from disturbing your garden, so go for it!
– You can compost your used coffee grounds
And now that you’ve used your used coffee grounds to the max, you can toss them into your compost pile. They won’t bother the worms and other organisms that compost the food. Plus, they won’t attract bigger animals like meats tend to do. You won’t wake up to find Smokey The Bear and all the forest creatures nibbling away on your compost pile!
For a good compost pile, you should aim to make it one part leaves to one part of fresh grass clippings to one part of your coffee grounds. The key is to have the grounds more broken down and composted though before you use them with your plants in your garden.
You most certainly can use your same coffee grounds more than once to make coffee. But do you want to DRINK that coffee? Not unless it’s an emergency. It just won’t taste very good. You can add cream and sugar to smooth things over, but it’s not ideal. If you love coffee, use your grounds only once when it comes to brewing and then use one of these other methods for making the most out of them.
By doing so, you’ll have used your coffee to the absolute fullest without sacrificing flavor!