We have become a coffee nation and in Australia it is estimated 75000 tonnes of ground waste is produced annually, expecting to increase each year. Brett and I like a coffee every morning and as we believe in Permaculture principles around circular systems I’ve done some exploration regarding how we can put our used coffee grounds to use.
In the garden
• A lot of insects like ants don’t like the aroma of coffee so you can repel them by spreading a 1-2 inch line around the perimeters (replenish every two weeks).
• Snails and slugs are also not fans, so you may wish to try a line of coffee grounds around your strawberry patch.
• Compost – coffee improves soil structure, provides nitrogen, improves fertility and can promote plant growth and development. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and great for the garden compost and research suggests that composting coffee grounds rather than adding them uncomposted to the garden is more beneficial as this ensures toxic components are decomposed. To ensure a good mix no more than 20% volume of coffee grounds should be added.
• I have read varying opinions regarding worms and coffee. In my worm towers at home, I found I had a lot more worms when I started omitting coffee grounds from them.
• Soak with banana peels and comphrey leaves to make a tea – dilute 1:4 and mix with water and add to your veggies.
• Mix with potting soil 1:10 parts, blueberries love coffee as do other acid loving plants like azaleas and camellias.
If you don’t drink coffee and are wanting grounds for your compost you may wish to approach cafes in your local area and see if you could collect some on a regular basis – so much better for them to be in your garden rather than landfill.
Coffee grounds are a natural exfoliant and is loaded with antioxidants that are said to eliminate free radicals dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt from the pores of your skin. It is also believed to reduce inflammation and improve skin elasticity leaving your skin soft and moisturized. Another belief is coffee’s capacity to minimize cellulite as it tightens the skin and increases blood circulation.
• Ground Coffee
• Sugar or Ground Oats
• Honey, Coconut, Grapeseed, Almond or Olive Oil
I remember how difficult it used to be to source a large variety of oils, we are so blessed to have them readily available in the supermarkets now. Grapeseed oil is pure, light, a great source of vitamin E, rich in antioxidants and is absorbed immediately into the skin. Olive oil is rich in proteins and vitamins and has a strong aroma. Coconut oil is now readily available and has a lovely smell and almond oil is gentle and rich in proteins and vitamins and is good for dry and irritated skin.
For a face mask use equal parts of each ingredient (approx 1 tablespoon), gently massage into your face and let it dry for 15 minutes or so and then rinse. For a body scrub use equal parts and increase the volume.
Today I made a grapeseed, oatmeal and coffee scrub. I blitzed the oats into a fine powder in the nutri bullet and I chose this combination as the oil is a good source of vitamin E and oats are an excellent moisturiser with skin healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and itch relieving benefits. It was lovely and my skin feels so soft!
Frozen Coffee Scrub cubes – Savy Naturalista recommends making Coconut Coffee Body Scrub Cubes which can be frozen and used as required. Take 2 cups of coffee grounds, add 1 cup of coconut oil and 15 drops of your favourite essential oil (Lemongrass or citrus is recommended), mix and place in a muffin tin or ice cube tray and freeze. Once firm store in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge. Such a great idea as coffee grounds will go mouldy if you leave them in a container on the bench without adding oil and this way you can grab a cube and take it when you have a shower.
We made these cubes today and they smelt divine, I can’t wait to try them!
Bali Coffee Scrub – I am a fan of Balinese body scrubs and a recipe in The Tropical Spa Book by Sophie Benge.
• 200 grams of coffee grounds
• 40 grams of kaolin or cosmetic clay – available in health food shops
• 250 grams of grated or blended carrot
• 10 grams of set gelatin
Mix the coffee grounds and clay with a splash of water and rub over your body. Then rub on the carrot and gelatin – once again mixed. Shower and wash off
I have made coffee scrub several times and whilst it is messy to use, your skin will feel amazing!
Coffee Ground Candles
Whilst we do make candles at home, these are something we will also need to try, however I think the coffee bean candles look more appealing.
Coffee Ground Soap
I must admit that whilst making soap is something I would like to explore; it scares me a little.
Basil, mint and Coffee or Coffee and Oatmeal are some recommended combinations.