13 Clever Ways to Use Old Coffee Beans

13 Clever Ways to Use Old Coffee Beans

Everyone wants to do their part to reduce, reuse, and recycle and be more environmentally friendly. Luckily, there is a way to reuse your old coffee beans or coffee grounds from your favorite brew

Coffee beans and grounds can be reused in a variety of different ways, including but not limited to nutritious soil for your garden, a way to de-odorize the most pungent parts of your house, and creative art pieces. Here are 13 creative ways to reuse coffee beans to make you think twice about throwing yours away.

13 Clever Ways to Use Old Coffee Beans

Before we dive into ways to use old coffee beans, here's a video with 8 reasons why you shouldn't throw away your coffee grounds:


Coffee contains several key elements—nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium—that are beneficial for plant growth. (Source)

Since plants absorb nutrients from soil, adding coffee grounds as a fertilizer is a great way to help your plants stay healthy and nutrient-dense. 

how to reuse old coffee beans


If coffee is great as fertilizer, it's also great as compost! Worms love coffee grounds and attracting more of them is great for soil. Here's the science to prove it: a study found that compost made with coffee grounds and kitchen waste was richer in nutrients compared to compost made with waste only (Source).


When life gives you old coffee beans, make dessert. Old coffee beans are perfect for making chocolate-covered espresso beans, tiramisu, coffee cake, coffee ice cream, and other coffee flavored desserts. Desserts don't rely on the freshest coffee beans to taste amazing, so old coffee beans will do the trick. In baking, coffee is a common item to add into chocolate baked goods as coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.

Coffee Ice Cubes

Just like the desserts, coffee ice cubes don't need the freshest coffee to serve its purpose. You can make these ahead of time and add them to your iced coffees or cold brew so that it doesn't dilute. 

how to reuse old coffee beans

Odor Neutralizer

Coffee is a great alternative to chemicals that neutralizes odors, since it contains nitrogen, which helps absorb odors from the air. Put some coffee grounds in your garbage can, fridge, shoes, or anywhere that has an odor and the coffee grounds will neutralize it. 

Insect Repellent

Did you know that coffee can be used to repel insects? The caffeine and other compounds in coffee deters insects away. It might even help deter fleas away from your pets. You can sprinkle coffee grounds around areas you want to be insect free, such as a patio, deck, or your plants. 

Art Projects

Coffee beans are a great tool to use in art! The beans itself can be glued to paper or wood, smashed and used, brewed into watercolor "paint," used to dye paper, and etc. The great thing about coffee is that it stains, so the possibilities are endless. 


As with desserts, cooking is also a good way to use old coffee. The flavor of a dish won't depend on how fresh the coffee is, as long there is a coffee taste. Some popular coffee dishes include coffee braised meat, carrots in a coffee glaze, and coffee rubbed meat. 

Meat Tenderizer

Yep, coffee can also tenderize meat! Coffee contains natural acids and enzymes, making it effective at tenderizing meat without the loud and tiring nature of a meat hammer. It can also work as a flavor enhancer or marinade, so you get a bang for your buck. You can tenderize meat with coffee as a dry rub or brewed.

how to reuse old coffee beans

Washing dishes

Similar to a skin exfoliator, coffee grounds can be used to "exfoliate" spots on dirty dishes that a sponge can't remove. It's harsh enough to get food that sticks but gentle enough that it won't ruin your kitchenware). It's a unique way to clean dishes that's environmentally friendly. Using a sponge, you can add your coffee grounds to it and scrub away. 

Home Decor

Coffee beans make a great display piece. Cafes and coffee shops usually have coffee beans displayed and it's a nice decoration. You also can put coffee beans in a clear jar and display on a shelf or table.

For example, our Santa Felisa Gesha coffees come in beautiful reusable tins that make great decor and can easily be repurposed for storage. 

Brown Dye

The one time you actually want to stain your clothes with coffee! You can make a pretty brown dye using coffee and use it to dye cloth. Depending on how strongly concentrated your dye is, it can create a very faint brown color or a strong brown color. 

Skin Exfoliant (Body)

It's common knowledge that coffee grounds can be used to exfoliate skin. However, we do not recommend using it on your face, as coffee grounds are quite rough and might cause abrasions. The skin on your body, however, is tough enough to handle it. Mix it with a little sugar and water, and your old coffee grounds are a unique way to exfoliate your skin. 

Looking to restock on coffee beans? 

At Bean & Bean, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We work with coffee farms that prioritize our planet, and we've invested in completely recyclable packaging as well. 

Each bag of our beans has been sourced and roasted with care, so that you can purchase and brew knowing you've minimized your environmental impact and empowered smaller farms across the globe. Shop all coffee beans here