Creative Ways to Use Old Coffee Beans: Don’t Let Them Go to Waste!

It happens to the best of us. We buy specialty coffee beans with the intention of brewing them right away, but life gets in the way. We end up making coffee at the office or supporting our local coffee shop for a daily pick-me-up with a friend. Before we know it, we realize that we have forgotten when we purchased the beans and are left with old coffee beans. Now what?

While these coffee beans may not taste spectacular, they haven’t gone bad and are still safe to consume. But don’t fret! There are several creative and delicious ways to use old coffee beans at home. In this article, we’ll explore three signs that your coffee beans are past their prime, seven fun and innovative ways to repurpose old coffee beans, and how to store and use coffee beans to reduce waste. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to make the most of unused coffee beans and how to avoid ending up with old coffee in the first place.

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How to Tell If Your Coffee Beans Are Old

It’s not difficult to determine when coffee beans are old. Look for these tell-tale signs:

  • Your coffee tastes boring. Coffee is meant to be sweet, rich, vibrant, floral, and everything in between! If your coffee tastes bland or “okay,” it’s likely several weeks or months past its prime.
  • The roast date is several months old. Specialty coffee bags display a “roasted on” or “best by” date. Coffee typically tastes best when brewed within the first 30 days after roasting. To guarantee freshness and an abundance of flavor, always look for a roast date before buying coffee.
  • You can’t remember when you bought the coffee. If you’re unsure when you purchased a lingering bag of beans, chances are it’s super old.
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Trust us. The minute you taste old coffee, you’ll know!

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Fun and Creative Ways to Use Old Coffee Beans

Don’t throw away those old coffee beans! From the farmer to your local roaster, so many people worked tirelessly to get those coffee beans into your hands. Let’s explore seven fun ideas to repurpose your unused coffee beans:

1. Make Cold Brew Concentrate

Cold brew coffee is one of the simplest brewing methods. Just weigh, grind, steep, and drink! Since cold brew is an immersion brewing method, it doesn’t require the bright flavors and crisp acidity of pour over coffee. This makes old coffee beans that may have lost their vibrancy perfect for smooth, rich cold brew. Plus, if you brew it as a strong concentrate, you can use it in a variety of recipes, from cold brew cocktails to protein shakes. You can’t go wrong with a classic cold brew over ice either.

2. Create Coffee Artwork and Decor

Old coffee can be used to create all types of artwork. Use ground coffee to provide texture or brew up some coffee and paint with it. Let your creativity flow! You can even create home decor by filling a candle holder or flower vase with coffee beans to spruce up your kitchen, dining room, or home office. Check out these crafty coffee artwork and decor ideas.

3. Compost Your Coffee Beans

Instead of throwing coffee beans in the garbage, toss them into a compost pile! Composting is an eco-friendly way to repurpose used and unused coffee grounds. It adds nitrogen to the soil, keeps away unwanted bugs and pests, and contributes to a healthy garden. If you don’t have a green thumb or space for a compost pile, check if your city has a communal composting service.

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4. Whip Up a Coffee Body Scrub

Did you know you can use coffee grounds to exfoliate your skin? The texture and acidic content of coffee make it the perfect natural exfoliant. Make a coffee body scrub at home by combining ground coffee, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Store the DIY scrub in a cute jar, and you’ll never need to buy an expensive exfoliator again!

5. Bake a Delicious Coffee Dessert

Coffee and dessert go hand in hand. Try making a coffee-infused dessert using your old coffee beans. Some ideas include affogato (a classic espresso dessert), cold brew float, Texas brownies with a kick of coffee, coffee milkshake, or mocha frosting for chocolate or vanilla cake. Reserve your best and freshest beans for your morning cup of coffee, and use any old or unused beans for your dessert recipes.

6. Try a New Brew Method

Learning to brew coffee can be complicated, and it often leads to wasted coffee as you fine-tune your technique. Instead of using fresh beans, start by using your old supply. This way, you can get the mechanics of the brew method or recipe down without wasting good coffee.

7. Create a Coffee Blend

Put your coffee knowledge to the test and challenge yourself to create a unique coffee blend with your unused beans. Experiment with different amounts of each coffee to discover what tastes best. Who knows what delicious combination you’ll come up with!

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Reduce Coffee Waste at Home

While repurposing old coffee beans is fun, it’s always best to avoid this situation as much as possible. Here are a few tips to reduce coffee waste at home:

  • Only buy as much coffee as you need. With so many blends and single origin coffees to try, it’s tempting to buy more than necessary. But in reality, you can only drink so much coffee. Reduce the amount of old coffee beans you have at home by buying only what you truly need.
  • Store beans properly. Beans will “get old” faster if they’re not stored correctly. Make sure to store them in airtight containers away from heat, light, and moisture.
  • Grind small amounts each time. Grinding only the amount of coffee you need right before brewing ensures maximum freshness and flavor.

Say goodbye to unused coffee beans by enjoying specialty coffee that’s so good, you can’t get enough of it! Marmalade Cafe offers a wide range of specialty-grade coffee sourced from family-owned farms worldwide. With their coffee, you’ll get all the delicious flavors locked in and ready to brew. Visit Marmalade Cafe for a delightful coffee experience.

So, don’t let those old coffee beans go to waste. Get creative and repurpose them in exciting ways!