The coffee

Coffee, compost and a new lease on life

Why compost your coffee? Um ... Why NOT compost your coffee? is the real question. The environment is everyone’s priority, yours and mine. It’s become a must-discuss topic that needs to be in the top three on anyone’s list of values, and above all, we really need to act, now. So in that spirit, here are a few hints on smart ways to dispose of your coffee grounds.

composting coffee

We produce lots of coffee residues, as you can imagine. Every espresso alone produces 10 g of grounds, and each batch we roast makes between 1 and 3 pounds of chaff. At FARO Roasting House, these residues account for nearly 40% of our garbage. The City of Sherbrooke recently set up a pilot project to promote composting to restaurant owners. We think that’s a brilliant move! To put the project into practice, I decided to explore various options for giving those masses of coffee residues a second life. Especially since coffee grounds are something pretty much every house is sure to have around. So here are seven ways of re-using your coffee grounds:

1.     Toss them in the compost (a classic, simple disposal method). Coffee grounds turn out to make excellent fertilizer. Seasoned gardeners suggest adding them directly to the soil, once a month for outdoor plants during the summer season and every two months for indoor plants.

2.     Keep them in a closed container for washing your hands. Hey, mechanics! Yes, you can remove the smells and stains from your oily hands with coffee grounds. They also work on hands that have been grubbing in dirt, sod and the like. And cooks whose hands smell of garlic or curry can use coffee to neutralize those odours too.

3.     Deodorize your fridge. Just leave a cup of coffee grounds in the fridge and you have instant odour control. All you have to do is change the coffee every two weeks. Now you can forget your leftovers in the fridge ... no one will ever know!

4.     Blemishes, begone! Coffee grounds make a very effective body scrub or facial exfoliant. Just blend coffee grounds with a bit of olive oil and water and use the mix to gently massage your face, or your whole body! I won’t promise eternal beauty like the big cosmetics companies, but it feels good and really does soften the skin. Plus, coffee grounds are full of amino acids that are great skin food and help to even out skin tone.

5.     Spread coffee grounds to repel invading ants and other undesirable critters in your home. Okay, I have to admit I haven’t tried this, but more than one person has told me. Those who want to test it on earwigs, we’re waiting to hear the results!

6.     Shampoo your beloved pooch with coffee grounds, for a flea treatment that won’t cost a penny!

7.     Tenderize raw meat with them. Top chefs have been using this trick for ages! Simple: cover your piece of meat in an even layer of coffee grounds, leave it for an hour and then rinse in cold water. Too much of your favourite brew may tense you up, but apparently on red meat it has just the opposite effect!


There are as many ways to re-use coffee grounds as there are to enjoy the drink itself. We’ve all had many a second wind from coffee; well, I’ll have you know, the same goes for the grounds. Savour your latté, then compost. It’s that simple.

#enjoy #coffee #organic #FARO