How to use old coffee grounds

From the farmer and producer to the roaster (us!) and you yourself, your coffee gets treated like the precious product it is throughout its life, from sapling to sip. Except that is, for the very end: once you’ve brewed your cup according to your particular method of choice, doesn’t just chucking the grounds in the bin seem a bit of a shame, somehow?

Try out one of these suggestions to give your coffee a more fitting send-off.


Make a coffee scrub-mask

Anti-inflammatory, astringent, exfoliating, antioxidising: a whole range of benefits are claimed for skincare products made with coffee grounds. To make a DIY coffee scrub-mask at home, mix two parts coffee grounds with one part olive or coconut oil.

As aroma bases go, coconut and coffee aren’t bad at all, but you might introduce some other ingredients in there, too. Lavender, shea butter, cinnamon, bananas and honey are all contenders.

You’re after a paste consistency. Gently rub a little onto your arm and leave it for half an hour, then wash it off and wait another half an hour. Assuming your skin doesn’t respond badly, you can now apply the scrub-mask to your face and leave for ten to twenty minutes.


Make bad smells go away

Even the grounds of coffee smell an awful lot better than most things. If the aromas emanating from your fridge leave something to be desired, try popping a dish of used grounds in there. Some people fashion deodorisers using old tights filled with coffee grounds, to leave in their drawers and cupboards. If you try this, be sure to dry the grounds out as much as possible first; a spell in the fridge should do the trick.


Make some art

As long as you’re fond of the brown end of the colour spectrum, coffee art might be for you. It will, at least, be an excuse to visit the art supplies shop you’ve walked past a thousand times, since you’ll need some watercolour paper. For inspiration, take a look at Ghidaq Al-Nizar’s @coffeetopia Instagram page. Ghidaq has 35K followers. Hopefully you won’t lose any.


Make slugs and weeds go away (maybe)

Slugs hate coffee’s acidity, while weeds (and indeed any plant life at all) hate its caffeine. Or so some say: there are countless schools of thought on the use of coffee grounds in the garden, many contradicting one another. The online anecdotes says coffee grounds are responsible for everything from towering parsley plants to composting calamities, so tread carefully.