Posts tagged "coffee"

How can I reuse/use up really, really old coffee beans?

I mentioned in passing on my simple/frugal living blog that we’re having our kitchen ceiling replastered at the moment.

Ahead of the plasterer starting on Monday, we had to tidy off all the work surfaces and tops of cupboards – quite a challenge for hoarders like us with many, many culinary hobbies! Anyway, among our tidying, I found a couple of half-used bags of coffee beans in an old biscuit tin. My boyfriend John bought them from an expensive coffee bean shop but didn’t really like them – he couldn’t bring himself to throw them away though, better to keep them as a back-up just in case he runs out of his preferred ones. That sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? Except they’ve been waiting in reserve for quite a while now. So long so that I had to search my old email to find out when we went to the place we bought the beans from (Lincoln). 2007. Five years. Gosh.

They do still smell quite coffee-ish but I suspect they’re long, long, long past their prime!

They could go on the compost heap but I’d rather reuse them in some other way rather than just letting them rot.

They could be ground and used in the same way you can reuse any coffee grounds — the magical internet tells me I can use it for dyeing fabric/yarn or even my hair, and I imagine these virgin beans would result in a deeper colour than already used once ones.

But does anyone have any ideas for ways I could use them whole? Crafty ideas or practical ones?

How can I reuse coffee that’s sat on the plate for too long?

We’ve had an email from Iris:

We make a big jug of filter coffee each morning at the weekend but I regularly have to pour away the last cup or two away because it’s gone bitter. Is there anything I can do to revive it or use it up some other way?

Of course, there is an obvious “reduce” angle here: just don’t make so much. If that’s not an option for some reason or if you still end up with dregs, as a minimum, the coffee (along with the grounds and the filter, if it’s paper/cotton) should be going on the compost heap rather than down the drain – but that’s a last resort. Some plants that like acidic soils might also like to down your last cup of joe once a week too (although watered down if it’s got a bit strong on the hot plate, and it’s had too much if the leaves start to yellow or go brown after a few weeks).

I don’t drink coffee but do use it in cakes/desserts from time to time. I usually get my brewmaster (boyfriend) to prepare a fresh cup for me to use though as he makes (Aeropress) espresso and we don’t have “spare” coffee. I’d imagine that any burnt taste in the coffee would be transferred to the cake/mousse etc too – but I don’t know, perhaps the other ingredients would mask it — anyone tried that?

Any other suggestions for ways for Iris to use up that bitter coffee?

How can I reuse or recycle an hand coffee mill/grinder?

We’ve had an email from good friend of Recycle This Petra:

When cleaning some cupboards, I found an old hand coffee mill. I never use it for coffee beans, but could you think of another purpose for this mill. Something to grind for kitchen use? Or something totally different?

All ideas are welcome.

My ex had a very basic hand grinder for coffee and it took *forever* to grind enough beans for a single cup of coffee so if it’s anything like that one, I wouldn’t advocate using it to grind any large quantities of things or anything that needs to be very fine. I suspect more modern/expensive grinders are more efficient though and probably give more control over the final ground size – I’ve never tried it but could they be used for making rice flour or chickpea (gram) flour?

(If you’re not going to make use of it, the usual “pass it on” rule & routes apply: someone might want it for grinding coffee. I regularly see this type of thing on the “household” shelves of local charity/thrift shops or at car boot sales etc – they’re often sold without original packaging/instructions as long as they’re in good, clean condition.)

Any other suggestions for things to grind in it aside from coffee? Or other reuses/recycling ideas?

Interesting Reducing, Reusing & Recycling links

maya-made-coffee-pincushionI’m *finally* getting back on top of my email Inbox & feed reader after a few mad weeks of juggling work and house moves – here’s some super-interesting links I’ve been sent/read about.

How can I reuse or recycle single-cup coffee filters?

individual-filter-coffeeWe’ve had an email from Steve asking:

How can I reuse or recycle one-cup filter coffee packs?

I think Steve means these – little plastic pots that you put on the top of your cup/mug and fill with boiling water. The water then seeps through the filter-coffee-filter sandwich at the bottom et voila!, a cup of filter coffee without needing a machine.

I think the first thing to suggestion here, as in many cases, is see if you can stop or reduce using them. I realise they’re a handy substitute for offices where there aren’t machines or anything like that, but you can get reusable one-cup filter things and cafetieres/plungers aren’t expensive either. Both of those option cut down your waste by loads and it’s also easier to reuse the coffee grounds from them too.

If you do have to use them though, it’s of course better to reuse them or recycle them instead of just binning them. I wonder if it would be possible to refill them – you might have to replace the upper filter as well as the coffee though – and that would probably be so much faff that it wouldn’t be worth it.

As for other reuses, like nearly everything vaguely pot shaped, you could use it as a small plant pot – the filter at the the bottom would allow drainage. Any other suggestions?