The top 35 weird and wonderful uses of coffee

Uses of coffee you may or may not have been aware of!

We all know and love the humble coffee bean (well, most of us). It gives us life in the morning, a wake-up call in the afternoon and endless hugs of comfort and enjoyment. But do we all know of the other uses and benefits of this caffeine drenched treat?

1. Compost

Instead of sending your coffee grounds straight off to landfill, add it to your compost heap. The coffee contains nitrogen and small amounts of potassium and phosphorus, providing beneficial nutrients for your compost. Be sure to add carbon-rich material such as dry leaves and newspaper to balance with the nitrogen-rich coffee. You can also add any filter papers you may have used in the process of making coffee.

The coffee grounds also attract worms which will help with the breakdown of the composting materials.

coffee grounds used in compost to grow plants

2. Bug repellent

All those troublesome creepy crawlies that invade your flower bed or veggie patch can be warned off by sprinkling coffee grounds around the area, acting as a barrier and keeping those precious, award-winning turnips safe and sound!

3. Cat repellent

The above also applies to repelling cats from your garden, deterring them from interfering with your planting and leaving any nasty surprises in amongst your plants and flowers. Do proceed with caution as a large consumption of coffee can be toxic to cats and dogs.

using coffee grounds as cat repellent

4. Burn to keep flying insects at bay

If you struggle with an influx of mosquitoes, wasps and bees when trying to enjoy a day or evening in the sun, burn used, dry coffee grounds, similar to how you would burn incense. These pesky intruders hate the smell and will stay well away, leaving you to remain bite and sting free!

5. Grow mushrooms

Coffee grounds are great for creating the right ground composition for growing mushrooms! Adding coffee grounds provides the substrate that mushrooms need to grow, while giving great nutrients to the fungi, helping them to flourish!

using coffee grounds for growing mushrooms

6. Odours – pet, cars, fridge

Coffee grounds are excellent for banishing odours, whether that be in the fridge, rooms where pets live or in cars. The nitrogen in the coffee reacts with carbon in the air to help eliminate sulphur.

Add a dish to the fridge/room or place into a pair of tights to use anywhere with a bit of a pong.

7. Scrub

Coffee grounds can be mixed with water to gently exfoliate your skin, removing dead cells, revealing fresh new skin and increasing blood flow to overall improve the health and appearance of your skin.

Add to a more viscous liquid, such as honey, to create a lip scrub.

coffee grounds used as a body scrub

8. Eye bags

Coffee grounds mixed into a paste with something like coconut oil and applied to the delicate area under your eyes can reduce inflammation and signs of ageing through the antioxidant properties of the coffee, stimulating blood flow and fighting free radicals!

9. Cellulite

Circulating coffee grounds mixed with coconut oil topically onto any area of problematic cellulite is thought to help break down fatty deposits underneath the skin and increase blood flow to reduce the appearance of dimply skin.

10. Hair cleanser and growth

Coffee does all sorts of amazing things for the hair. You can rub into your scalp before shampooing to banish any product build-up, and to help increase hair growth by encouraging blood flow to the area.

11. Hair dye and shine

If you are brunette (not advised for blondes as this would most probably stain the hair!) you can use coffee to keep locks looking freshly dyed by pouring brewed (and cooled) coffee through the hair, popping a shower cap on and waiting 45 minutes before washing out.

Similarly, you can do the same to increase the shine of your hair, simply pour through some strong black and leave 20 minutes before rinsing!

coffee grounds used as hair dye and shine

12. Sniff re-setter

Coffee beans are a great addition to any perfume counter, giving the tester opportunity to clear out their nostrils between sniffing the different perfumes by taking a deep inhale of the delicious coffee beans. This helps to pick out the scents more clearly and differentiate between the samples.

13. Breath freshener

Run out of mints? Pop a coffee bean in and suck away to banish odours in a similar way to previous odour busting uses we have described!

14. Coffee candle

A very simple way to release the scent of the coffee (when not actually making coffee) is to place a tea light candle on top of coffee beans and let them gently warm up to release their scent. Breathe in the delicious aroma.

coffee candle

15. Dye/stain

Going for the antique look? Want to disguise a coffee stain? Just dye the whole thing! Simply re-dampen the used coffee grounds to create a natural, non-toxic dye. Just make sure you give any clothing a gentle, cold wash in mild laundry detergent before you wear them.

16. Paint

In a similar vein to the above, the ‘dye’ can also be used as ‘paint’. A therapeutic activity, perfect for pairing with your freshly brewed coffee, grab a paint brush and create some art. There are some amazing pieces of work using coffee as paint.

coffee used as paint

17. Cleaning

If you are averse to using too many chemicals to clean your surfaces, coffee grounds contain antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help sanitise while scrubbing at any stubborn marks on work tops and similar.

They are also great for pouring down the sink to eliminate any unwanted odours, just follow with boiling water to ensure no blockages occur.

18. Scouring pans

Due to their course texture, coffee grounds are great for lifting stubborn, stuck-on food from pots and pans. Just mix with water and optional soap to scrub away and  achieve sparkling clean cookware!

19. Pain relief

Banish aches and pains – according to scientists, coffee can help reduce pain that is associated with sitting at a desk. Neck, back and head pain can be relieved by the effects of caffeine, seemingly blocking pain receptors.

20. Stress relief

Caffeine is known to inhibit receptors in the brain for the chemical adenosine. Researchers have found that these receptors also control the negative effects of chronic stress and that stress-induced behaviour can be reversed by blocking the receptors.

coffee for stress relief

21. Stimulant

The caffeine in coffee acts as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. Studies have shown that, depending on level of intake, caffeine can help to improve mental performance, especially on alertness, attention and concentration.

22. Fill in the cracks

There is nothing more annoying than having to see a scratch in your beloved dark wood furniture. Worry not, coffee grounds to the rescue, mix them with a tiny bit of water to create a thick paste, dab on to the affected area and leave for 5-10 minutes, wipe clean and continue to dab with the mixture to achieve the desired depth of colour, leaving to dry between applications.

coffee grounds used as furniture repair

23. Cooking – rub or stock

Coffee grounds are great for tenderising and adding flavour to meat, simply add to a dry rub mixture, massage into the meat and leave to sit for a little while before cooking.

You can also add a cup of brewed black coffee to stews to add depth and flavour, delicious with lamb and beef!

24. Making trainers

There is an innovative company making trainers from coffee grounds and recycled plastic in the effort for sustainability and fashion. Currently manufactured in China, the founding duo wish to move this to their home country of Vietnam in time.

25. Coffee cups

There is a company in Germany, Kaffeeform, recycling old coffee grounds and creating beautiful coffee cups, keep cups and saucers. So, you can now drink your coffee in coffee! They also have a mild smell of coffee.

coffee grounds recycled into coffee cups

26. Re-worked furniture

While most of us have been busy enjoying coffee for our morning wake-up, Adam Fairweather has been devising a way in which to use coffee grounds and other recyclable products to create designer furniture. Google being a customer of the designer, the company could potentially be a great addition to the recycling world.

27. Carbon capture

In South Korea researchers have found a way in which to use coffee grounds to capture released carbon. By brewing used coffee grounds in a solution of Potassium Hydroxide, dried out and then heated up in a special furnace, creating a ‘carbon sponge’ from the used coffee grounds.

28. Printer ink

Believe it or not, a printer has been designed to print using coffee grounds and water. The concept, called the RITI Printer, does need manual operation to replicate the back and forth action of a regular printer. But, yet another great sustainable development.

RITI printer, uses coffee as ink

29. Odour busting sportswear

Over in Taiwan, a clothing company is recycling coffee grounds into yarn to create sportswear that both dries quickly and eats the odour! What more could you want from your activewear? Where do we sign up?

30. Flea removal

As previously mentioned, bugs don’t like coffee grounds, so, it stands to reason that fleas would be the same. To keep them away from your precious pooches, just rub some coffee grounds into your dogs’ fur after shampooing and rinse once more.

Beware of using this method for banishing the critters, you may need further medication for your dog from the vet.

coffee grounds used for flea removal

31. bio-bean

bio-bean is a company paving the way in coffee power. Quite literally turning recycled coffee grounds into coffee logs, biomass pellets and biochemicals, creating a greener energy source.

32. Health concerns

Compounds found in coffee, both the bean and the husk, are found to help with wound healing, cognitive health and can reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s. These compounds and their benefits are still being tapped into and researched, so watch this space!

33. Cascara

You can actually make tea from coffee. Confusing I know. More accurately, you can make tea from the dried flesh of the coffee cherry. Well, kind of a tea/coffee hybrid, with fruity flavours and much less caffeine. Made simply by steeping the cascara in hot water and adding any other ingredients as desired.

cascara

34. Coffee flour

Who knew? Coffee. Flour. This is created by drying out the coffee cherry and milling to produce a fine powder, AKA…flour! The result is a slightly fruity tasting flour, perfect for sweet recipes and high in fibre!

35. Coffee honey

Finally, our last weird and wonderful use for coffee. Honey! Which sounds delicious, made from the mucilage and pulp of the coffee cherry, suitable for human and animal consumption, cosmetics and drugs. 

So, when you next pick up your much-loved cup of coffee, remember all these amazing things that can come from the humble coffee cherry. A lot of these applications are easily adopted by anyone, others are highly specialist! I am sure we will continue to see more and more uses for coffee over the coming years.

We welcome any additions from you guys!

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