Save, Store and Reuse Your Excess Coffee
Written by Alexandros
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have an impractical amount of coffee left over from the Christmas break. Whether it’s from gifts, personal treats, or that very specific blend that only one person in your house drinks… Often there’s just too much for one person to get through, and most of that good coffee goes bad or ends up in the bin. Well, we’re here to save your New Year, and offer a list of practical uses for your fresh coffee. Whether it’s your whole beans, ground coffee, or spent grinds – we’ll help you reduce waste and save you from a coffee overload!
Put Them in the Freezer
You might not realise that whole bean coffee is perfectly suitable for home freezing! It’s actually one of the main methods that we use in our cafés to keep fresh stock for longer. Freezing your beans will lock in their flavours, reducing the rate of turning stale and ensuring that you have fresh reserves of some of your seasonal favourites. There aren’t too many rules about how you freeze your coffee, as long as it is in an airtight container or a vacuum sealed bag.
As we explained in our blog on nitro-flushing, oxygen is the nemesis of fresh coffee – as it reacts with a coffee’s solubles over time, causing a loss of flavour and becoming stale. Reducing the amount of oxygen around your beans before freezing will drastically increase their shelf-life in the freezer. There also seems to be a lot of different opinions about how long coffee can last in the freezer and retain it’s fresh taste – some people say between 3-4 months, whilst others say up to 2 years! It’s certainly a process of trial and error, but it’s bound to keep your reserves intact as you recover from the festive season.
Use Them as Deodorisers
Another reason that we tend to use airtight, resealable coffee bags is because coffee is great at absorbing scents. This isn’t so great if you’re wanting to drink your coffee after it’s been absorbing other smells in your cupboards, but it’s perfect to use as a deodoriser. Grinding up a small handful of beans and leaving them in a tupperware in your fridge, or tying them up inside a coffee filter and leaving them inside smelly shoes, is a great way to remove bad odours.
Once they’ve done their job they’re not safe for consumption of course, so they can be thrown away or used in a compost bin!
Make One of Our Christmas Cocktails
In case you missed our blog post over the holidays about Christmas Cocktails, it’s a great way to use up some coffee beans in the process, and even save some for garnish! If you’re tired of your daily coffee (I mean, how could you be?) here’s five different ways to get your caffeine fix in this blog – perfect for a night in.
Topping off any of our martini’s with a few whole beans is the perfect way to enjoy these drinks and even impress your friends.
Make a Coffee Cake or Tiramisu
Pre-ground coffee doesn’t store as well long-term because of the large surface area of the coffee, meaning it’s able to react with much more oxygen. Because of this, it can be easier to brew the grounds whilst they’re still fresh and re-use the coffee itself. Here we’re suggesting that you put your oven gloves on and get baking (as long as your new years resolution isn’t exercise!)
Replacing some of the liquid in your cake or biscuit recipes with espresso is a great way to enhance some of the flavours (especially chocolate). Or why not loosen some icing and make a coffee cream cake! However, we can’t not mention the Italian classic: Tiramisu. It’s the desert counterpart to a perfect coffee. Layers of coffee soaked sponge fingers, cream and chocolate – absolutely heavenly.
Coffee Ice-cubes for Easy Iced Coffee
It might still be in the minus degrees outside, but hey! We’re not judging. Iced coffee is an irresistible sweet treat, but cooling down a hot espresso often seems like too much work for a drink that only lasts five minutes. That’s why we like to freeze brewed coffee in ice-cube moulds! That way, a few ice cubes in a glass with some milk is the shortcut to a perfect drink.
These won’t stay good for as long as your airtight whole beans, so make sure that you cover your ice-cube trays with clingfilm and dispose of the ice after 2 weeks. Keep this hack in mind for the summer too – perhaps you could make a coffee ice lolly or even coffee ice-cream!
Meat Rub or Marinade
This might sound a little peculiar, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! It’s been suggested that coffee grounds can act as a meat tenderiser. The acid and enzymes naturally present in the coffee are ideal for tenderising meats like steak – forming a crust that also enhances flavour and locks in moisture. This is definitely something that any adventurous foodie should try once!
Otherwise, there are lots of different marinade recipes for meat and vegetables that ask for a shot of espresso – claiming that the coffee is a natural flavour enhancer, offering rich and smoky flavours.
Make a Natural Fertiliser or Compost
Spent grounds are the leftover (wet) grounds after you’ve made an espresso, pourover, or used any kind of coffee filter/ device. These grounds are typically thrown away, or washed down the sink – which isn’t recommended. If you are using something like a cafetiere, we suggest using a fine mesh strainer to catch your grounds and save your pipes. At both of our cafés, our grounds are sent to local allotments to become fertiliser!
This is something that you can do at home, by setting up your own compost bin! This is a great way of disposing of tea bags and food waste, such as egg shells, too. However, your grounds can also be spread directly onto your plants – particularly rose bushes, which thrive on spent grounds. However, you must be aware that too much coffee can burn the roots of your plants due to the high nitrogen content, so if you are going to follow through with this method – do so sparingly!
Scour Your Pots and Pans
Coffee grounds are extremely abrasive, which means that they are great when used for cleaning or scrubbing around your home. This is particularly true for dirty cookware! Using a metal scouring pad and some spent coffee grounds can actually help to break down some of those baked on stains. Just remember to wipe off the grounds with a paper towel so that they don’t end up down your drains!
You can also use coffee grounds on other metallic surfaces, such as taps or your kitchen sink – but try to avoid making contact with any other surfaces to reduce staining.
Make a Skin Scrub
Finally, some companies are already using spent coffee grounds as exfoliants in their products and selling it back to you! With a little bit of coconut oil you’ll be able to replicate the same effects of the product for free, at home. Adding a little bit of honey can also make a sweet lip scrub! But we don’t recommend using this scrub anywhere else on your face, as it is a strong exfoliant.
There are some benefits to scrubbing with coffee grounds however, which include increasing blood flow and breaking down fat cells to increase the evenness of your skin.
Well there you have it! Hopefully we’ve provided you with enough ways to use up those last beans and grounds, so that you can get back on top of your coffee collection again. Whether you like it hot or cold, whole or ground, sweet or savoury, this list has something for everyone.
And if you’re ever in doubt… throw it in the freezer!