When you own a coffee shop like I do or buy a lot of coffee beans, knowing what to do with old coffee beans is essential, a must-know!
After all, waste not want not and I, perhaps the ol’ Scotsman in me, that hates to waste things and throw stuff out when they can be reused, recycled or, better still, upcycled.
In this article you will find a number of fantastic ideas about what to do with your old coffee beans, so pull up your chair and keep reading!
Let’s start with how they taste, how to tell if your beans are off and what can be done to make those old beans taste great!
How Do Old Coffee Beans Taste?
Old coffee beans taste off, rancid, bitter and rather weak in their coffee flavor. Coffee, like anything else, is a food product. Naturally, if you eat or drink something that is old, it is not at all going to taste at all that good.
Expect an off and overtly rotten and bitter-sour taste.
Read: How to flavor coffee beans
How To Tell If Coffee Beans Are Bad
How to know if your coffee beans are bad is to perform the tried and trusted sniff and sip test. Stale coffee beans are lifeless, dull, musty and can even be rancid.
Smell your coffee beans and if they smell off, trust your senses – they are probably off. If your beans smell fine, brew up a cup of coffee and repeat the sniff test. If your coffee smells off, let it cool down and then use it to water your plants.
If your brewed coffee smells fine, you can proceed to the sip test by taking a small sip and checking if it tastes alright.
If it tastes off, follow the above instructions and use it to water your household plants. If it tastes fine, enjoy it!
How To Make Old Coffee Taste Good
Vietnam, one of the greatest and most under-rated hip and trendy coffee cultures in the world, has a lovely trick to revitalize old coffee beans.
Simply add a pinch of salt to your cup of coffee to take away that overtly bitter taste. Surprisingly, salt counteracts the bitterness of coffee. The Vietnamese have a special coffee, salt coffee, that is rather lovely and great tasting.
The history behind salt and Vietnamese coffee was to prolong the life of the coffee beans. Today, it is used with fresh beans and is a specialty coffee drink.
How To Refresh Old Coffee Beans
Following on from the salt trick, you can refresh old coffee beans by using them to make flavored coffee beans.
Simply use some fresh spices like cinnamon, vanilla, cacao or coconut to freshen up and add flavor to and refresh old coffee beans.
Simply chop them up and add them to your coffee canister, shake them well, so the spice is mixed well and evenly and let them sit there for 24 hours to 36 hours to absorb the scent and flavor of the spice.
Once your desired level of taste has been achieved, remove the spice to prevent it from overcoming the coffee taste and being too dominant a flavor.
What To Do With Old Coffee Beans
There are a lot of things, a wide range of uses that your old coffee beans have. You can repurpose them to make an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells, by making a coffee scrub. You can use them to fertilize soil, make compost, water plants due to the high nitrogen content.
By no means, should you simply just throw out your old coffee beans.
Let’s get to the beef of this article and talk about what you can do with those old coffee beans that you have.
#1 Neutralize Odors
Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen which, when combined with carbon, which is also found in coffee grounds, helps to remove bad odors due to its ability to get rid of sulfur gas from the air.
It is absolutely true that coffee grounds absorb and eliminate bad odors. It is this ability of coffee grounds and coffee beans to absorb scents is what makes them able to absorb the scents and flavors from foods and spices that are near them and make flavored beans.
Using a bowl of coffee grounds in your freezer, fridge, pantry or garage will help to neutralize bad smells from anything, including spoiled foods.
I keep a bowl of coffee grounds on my counter top to absorb scents like garlic, onions and other organic materials.
#2 Scrub Pots And Pans
Another great use in the kitchen is to make and use the rough and coarse texture of your old coffee beans and grounds to clean caked on and baked in food and grime on your dirty pots and pans.
Simply sprinkle them on and scrub as you normally would and rinse well afterward.
#3 A Handwash
Another great use in the kitchen, is as a handwash. Simply use a small amount of old coffee grounds and rub them on your hands as if it is a pre-wash to clean your hands. This will help you get rid of the garlic or other strong scents you may have lingering on your hands.
#4 Exfoliate Skin
I touched on and mentioned this earlier, and moving from the kitchen to the bathroom, you can use coarse rough coffee particles that are in coffee grounds and use them as an alternative to expensive skin scrubs to remove dead skin tissue and cells to improve your skin appearance.
Just take some old coffee beans, grind them, and mix your grounds with coconut oil to make a skin scrub. Simply use the scrub as you would any other scrub and apply it to your hands, face and body.
Thanks to the caffeine in coffee grounds, you can enjoy its protective antioxidant properties and improved blood flow.
#5 A Natural Dye
There is barely a person alive that does not know about how coffee can and will stain your clothes. You can use old coffee beans and old grounds to make a natural dye that you can use on rayon, cotton, linen, cellophane and paper.
Simply wet the grounds and use them to dye the materials mentioned.
You can also get arty and use it as coloring for Easter eggs and even to deepen the color of your hair. The best part is it is 100% natural and chemical free and non-toxic.
#6 Reduce Cellulite!
Just as you can make an exfoliant skin scrub, you can improve the appearance of skin imperfections by making an anti-cellulite scrub with your old coffee beans and grounds.
The caffeine content of your old coffee grounds when you apply it to your skin may have the effect of increasing blood flow and help break down the fat deposits underneath your skin.
#7 Clean Your BBQ Or Fireplace
An easy way of cleaning the ashes from your barbecue or home fireplace is to use your old coffee grounds to weigh them down and reduce the dust formation. They can also serve as a fire safety tool for your outdoor charcoal barbecue, and you can use them to safely put out the fire.
Talking of cooking…
#8 Tenderize Meat
This can make a great tasting manly steak grilled on your barbecue. Coffee has natural enzymes that can help to break down proteins and result in a softer texture.
due to coffee being acidic, you can use your old grounds to enhance the flavor of your meat. Simply add your coffee grounds to your dry rub recipe and apply it to your meat approximately 2 hours before you cook it. Your grounds will get cooked into your meat with the result being a delicious, dark, crust.
You also use your grounds to brew a strong marinade for your meat and marinate for 24 hours before cooking.
#9 Cultivate Mushrooms
Keeping with the culinary topic. You can use and take advantage of your old coffee beans and grounds and their high levels of nitrogen and use them to make a substrate for mushrooms to grow in.
Despite the difficulty of growing mushrooms, coffee grounds are perfect as a substrate as they contain a number of nutrients that aid in the growing of mushrooms.
Note: It is best you use used coffee grounds as these have been sterilized thanks to the brewing process.
#10 Furniture Repair
Scratched wooden furniture can easily be fixed by making a thick paste from old coffee beans and grounds.
Simply make a paste with water and rub and dab it on your scratched wooden furniture. Wait for 6 to 10 minutes and then wipe gently with an old cotton rag. Repeat as necessary.
Keep dabbing and rubbing on the past until your scratched furniture has the damage concealed. Wait a few hours between applications to ensure it has dried, then re-apply as needed.
#11 Flea Removal From Your Pet
Coffee is a great natural insecticide and those pesky fleas don’t like it! Be very careful: coffee should never be consumed by your pooch as it is toxic for them.
The benefit of using coffee for flea removal is it is a natural and chemical free solution.
Simply rub old coffee grounds in abundance through your dog’s fur after you give him or her a good shampooing. Rinse well and allow your dog to dry naturally.
You are best to clean your dog outside as the fleas will want to go somewhere! That somewhere is best not inside your home!
#12 Use As An Insect Repellant!
This is my number one secret as to why and how I keep my home coffee shop free from insects, mosquitos and all kinds of bugs.
There is no need to go over the top. Just have plenty of plants with coffee grounds abundantly sprinkled on the soil and placed smartly around the room. I have grounds in ashtrays as a fire prevention hazard.
The double bonus is the grounds also absorb bad scents.
Old Coffee Beans In The Garden
#13 Make Compost
Both old coffee beans and old coffee grounds can be used to make a nutrient rich compost. Coffee has high levels of nitrogen and a number of nutrients as well as an ability to retain moisture that makes them perfect for creating compost.
Simply add your old beans or used grounds to your compost bin with the rest of your organic material. Your garden will love you for it.
#14 A Natural Fertilizer
Following on from composting, you can use your old coffee grounds and old coffee beans to add essential nutrients and enhance the soil quality and even revitalize deplenished soil. Coffee beans and grounds contain nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Also, coffee has the ability to absorb heavy metals from the soil.
Old Coffee Beans And Cold Brew Coffee
A lot of people tend to use old coffee beans to make cold brew as the extraction time, the brewing time is significantly longer. The belief is that the fact the coffee beans are old, the effect and impact on the flavor is reduced.
This is not true at all.
It is most certainly not a way to make one of the best and most refreshing coffee drinks.
I don’t advise at all the use of old coffee beans to make cold brew coffee. If anything, use beans that are as fresh as possible and double brew your cold brew with hot water and then cold water for a focused and great tasting cold brew coffee.
Old coffee beans and cold brew coffee are a bad idea!
What To Do With 2 Year Old Coffee Beans
No matter how old your coffee beans are, be they 2 years old, 3 years old, 5 years old or 10 years old, you can use all or some of the above techniques and ideas that I have mentioned in this article.
Just don’t go about making a cup of coffee with 2-year-old coffee beans.
Is Re-roasting Stale Coffee Beans A Good Idea?
Re-roasting stale coffee beans is a bad idea.
By roasting your coffee beans for a second time, you are not roasting them, you are effectively cooking your coffee beans. The result will be burnt and overtly bitter coffee beans.
This is why you never see double roasted beans for sale anywhere. You will only destroy the flavor and not freshen them up. The end result, no matter how you like your coffee, is spoiling your beans.
Frequently Asked Questions About What To Do With Old Coffee Beans
Can You Use 2-Year-Old Coffee Beans?
You might still be able to use 2-year-old coffee beans to brew a cup of coffee if you have stored them perfectly well. Always store your coffee beans in an opaque professional coffee canister with an airtight lid and a one way valve. Store your canister with your bean in them in your fridge.
Before you brew with your 2 year old coffee beans, give them a very good detailed inspection for mold. Sniff them for any off or rancid scents and then brew a cup of coffee. Sip test you coffee. If it tastes fine, continue, if not discard and recycle your beans.
What Can Expired Coffee Be Used For?
There are multiple uses for expired coffee beans and grounds including using them in your garden to revitalize soil, as a pesticide to ensure ants are not a problem, use them to grow mushrooms and add nitrogen and nutrient to your compost pile to name only a few uses.
Are Old Coffee Beans Good For Plants?
Yes, old coffee beans are good for plants but they best to be ground down for use in plant pots. In your garden, whole beans are better as they will decompose slower and release their nutrients and nitrogen content into your soil over a longer period of time.
How Do You Know If Coffee Beans Are Too Old?
Start by inspecting them for mold and rancid smells. Then brew a cup of coffee to run a taste test. A flat off tasting brew is a dead certain that your beans are too old.
Should I Throw Away Expired Coffee?
No, never! It is such a waste when there a many other great uses for expired coffee out with brewing a cup of coffee with them. You can make a body scrub, a hair scrub, use them to rid your pet of fleas, reduce the appearance of cellulite and a lot more.
Can I Compost Whole Coffee Beans?
Yes, whole beans are a great addition to your compost pile. Get into the habit of recycling your old beans and grounds and make it part of your eco-friendly coffee routine.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – What To Do With Old Coffee Beans?
By reading this far you are now full of ideas for what to do with old coffee beans and grounds. There is no need at all to waste them!
Nothing is gained if you just throw them in the bin! At the very least, you can use them to brighten up your garden and help your flowers and plants to bloom and make a nutrient-rich compost! To just bin them, what a waste!
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