What to Do with Used Coffee Grounds (and Old Beans)

Everyone has old coffee beans laying around. Check out these 10 awesome uses for used coffee grounds and whole beans!
Coffee Bean Garden
✍ Written by: Garrett Oden
📅 Published: March 21, 2019
🗃 Filed under: COFFEE BEANS | ⭐ FEATURED

Coffee grounds are one of the by-products of brewing coffee, which isn’t surprising considering how much coffee we drink.

Most people throw away these grounds, but they should be recycled or composted. There are simple, fun ways to incorporate used coffee grounds into your gardens and around the house. They help fertilizer, get rid of pests, and repel new pests, and it’s all organic.

Didn’t use all your coffee beans before they went stale?

Buy a bag only to find out the coffee’s awful?

Bummer… but good news! I’ve compiled a list of the best 10 ways to use old coffee beans and used coffee grounds to help make sure nothing goes to waste.

(Pro tip: I’ve actually found an amazing coffee storage container I love. It’s reliable and keeps beans fresh for longer. You can read the review here.)

What to do with Old Coffee Beans

1. Experiment with Brewing

Have you ever wanted to practice your pour over or experiment with brewing equipment without having to sacrifice your precious beans? Use those leftovers!

Remember that the best indicator of a successful brew is taste, but playing around and exploring with old beans can be fun and insightful.

2. Cover them in Chocolate

Store bought chocolate covered espresso beans are a big hit in many candy stores, but are also quite pricey. Use this simple recipe to make chocolate covered espresso beans at home.


  • 1/2 c. Espresso beans
  • 1 c. Semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Step 1: On a stove, melt chocolate over low to medium heat until chocolate chips are smooth.
  • Step 2: Pour espresso beans into the melted chocolate and mix until completely covered. Using a fork, extract the espresso beans and allow excess chocolate drip off.

Maybe those old, stale leftovers are still consumable after all!

Also Read: How to Find High Quality Coffee Beans

3. Get Your Artist On

Ever seen the coffee bean mural in Moscow, Russia?

The massive piece of art was constructed out of one million coffee beans and covers thirty square meters. You don’t have to cover the side of a building, but what about the side of a canvas or tissue box?

Get your artist on!

4. Give Candles Class

You’ve probably seen a fair share of coffee, candle combinations on Pinterest and are tired of them, but these things are beautiful table pieces and invite a relaxing mood into any room.

5. Call Your Grandmother

If your grandmother is anything like mine, she’ll drink coffee that’s been sitting on the counter for two days.

She has no problem buying a can of Folgers every now and then, but it would be just delightful if her loving family sent her a package of beans for her to use.

Don’t judge the less picky.

What to do with Used Coffee Grounds

1. Scrub Your Kitchen

Mildly abrasive and acidic, those old grounds will do well as a cleaning scrub. I’ve done this myself with immense success while trying to eliminate difficult stains and spots.

Throw a bit of water or soap in the mix and your counter tops will look good as new!

2. Repel Invading Ant Colonies

Those pesky ants will never leave you alone unless you spread some old coffee grounds along the problem areas. Save your kitchen, save your garden, save your sanity. I’ve read this works with cats too.

3. Super Charge Compost

Composting is about making waste into something useful. Basically, it’s a way to turn waste into soil.

Composting uses microorganisms and the natural process of decomposition to turn organic waste into valuable fertilizer. The process turns waste into compost, a nutrient-rich soil additive. Composting can be done with almost anything – including used coffee grounds.

Ample amounts of phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, and, depending on the age, nitrogen can be found in old coffee beans, which will supercharge soil either by direct placement (short-term reward) or by compost investment (long term reward).

Get gardening!

Also Read: Does Coffee Expire?

4. Repel Fleas

If you’re having a flea issue, consult a doctor.

If your beloved pet is experiencing a flea issue, scrub their fur with coffee grounds and those pests won’t come around for a while.

Added bonus, your pet’s odor will be absorbed by the grounds.

5. Reduce Stank

Coffee grounds do a great job of absorbing stank.

One of the web’s favorite uses is placing a bunch of dry grounds into a container with an opening at the top, then placing the container in an area with significant amounts of stank. Let it be for a couple hours and the grounds will have sucked up the unpleasant aroma by your next return.

Now that you have counter space and have successfully used those beans to the last of their abilities, it’s time to buy some more.

The Ankomn Everlock

The Everlock looks like most storage containers, but it has a unique feature that works wonders: a twist-to-seal mechanism. Rather than pressing down a button that creates the seal, you twist the top cylinder.

Read the full review here.

Here’s our #1 pick for keeping your beans from getting old with good storage.

Garrett Oden

Garrett Oden

Coffee Industry Writer

Welcome, fellow coffee lover!

The entire purpose of this coffee blog is to empower you to explore the wonderful world of coffee. There’s much to learn and experience, so get to reading!

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1 Comment

  1. Patrick M Matherne

    Thanks, I will have to try the recipe for the chocolate covered beans. I used to love eating them, there was a store that made some homemade ones for a few bucks a pound.