IT was recently reported in the local papers that the coffee industry is set to thrive, all thanks to the growing purchasing power of millennials. While this spells a positive sign for coffee growers and brewers, the question of sustainability comes to mind.
What happens to the used coffee grounds at all those aesthetically lit cafes? The common practice in many places is to discard them after use. Fortunately, there is still a way for you to enjoy your daily dose of freshly-brewed cup of coffee, while being a smart and sustainable citizen of the world.
The next time you’re enjoying your cup of caffeine, do the environment a favour and ask your friendly barista for a bag of used coffee grounds to bring home. In the spirit of being #woke, here are some creative ways for used coffee grounds.
Exfoliate your skin
The coarse texture of the grounds make it an excellent exfoliating substance. What this means is it would work just as well as your store-bought scrub to remove dirt and dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. For the DIY scrub, all you need is to mix coffee grounds with some water and coconut oil. Alternatively, you can also mix it with honey for a gentler lip scrub.
Dark circle treatment
Caffeine is known to improve dark circles by improving blood circulation. This effect can be derived through used coffee grounds too. High in antioxidants and caffeine, coffee grounds can be used to treat the skin surrounding the eyes. To do this, form a paste by mixing together water and coffee grounds. Then lather the mixture under your eyes before rinsing off.
Coffee grounds are rich in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper. In layman’s term, this makes them highly acidic — which is great as compost for your garden. Spread coffee grounds all over your plants and flowers. Some plants such as azaleas, tomatoes and hydrangeas particularly benefit from the acidity of coffee grounds compost.
You know what other benefit comes with the acidic property of coffee grounds? Enhancing the flavour of your food, that is. There are natural acids and enzymes in coffee, which makes it effective when it comes to tenderising your protein. Rub used coffee grounds on your choice of meat cuts and let them sit for about two hours.
Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee? The good thing about used coffee grounds is that they still retain that wonderful aroma! If we’re getting more technical, there’s nitrogen in coffee grounds; which then enables odour-eliminating properties. If you’re feeling extra creative, put some coffee grounds into satchels — treat it as a potpourri of sorts — and place them in shoe cabinets, gym bags or cars.
Those who have been unfortunate enough to get their hot beverage spilled all over their clothes know very well the perils of coffee stain. Fortunately, this staining capability also makes coffee grounds an all-natural dye. Moist used coffee grounds can be used to dye cotton and paper. For those with dark hair, it can also be used to deepen the colour of the strands.