Five ways to reuse coffee grounds and reduce waste in the office

There is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans. Not only is the aroma incredible and the taste delicious, but there is also the good feeling that comes from knowing that you are avoiding coffee pods and capsules that contribute to an immense amount of plastic and aluminum waste. No doubt you gravitated towards the Moriondo monthly coffee subscription service because you wanted to help the environment, one cup of coffee at a time.

There is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans. Not only is the aroma incredible and the taste delicious, but there is also the good feeling that comes from knowing that you are avoiding coffee pods and capsules that contribute to an immense amount of plastic and aluminum waste. No doubt you gravitated towards the Moriondo monthly coffee subscription service because you wanted to help the environment, one cup of coffee at a time.

 

As you hear the sound of the coffee beans grinding inside the machine, perhaps you have considered going one step further towards sustainable coffee practices in the office as you pondered the different ways to reuse the used coffee grounds. This could be an initiative as part of a zero-waste office, or maybe you are a green thumb with a compost bin at home. As an organic substance, coffee grounds are completely biodegradable and can be used for a range of beneficial purposes.

 

Used coffee grounds have even radically changed lives. The story of the woman Chido Govera from Zimbabwe, Africa is a reminder to all of us of the transformational power of used coffee grounds. She famously lifted herself out of poverty by simply growing mushrooms from used coffee grounds and selling them at local markets. This waste to food conversion project transformed an impoverished orphans’ life into a life of dignity, empowerment, and inspiration. She now travels the world helping other orphans do the same. Similar initiatives have popped up in the U.K. to empower unemployed youth. It seems that used coffee grounds can be the source of unlimited potential and transformation.

 

What are Used Coffee Grounds Good for?

Sustainable coffee challenge in action

It is estimated that coffee drinkers in the U.S.A. consume approximately 400 million cups of coffee every day. That equates to a lot of used coffee grounds that have the potential to be reused and be of benefit to society. Instead of putting those coffee grounds directly into the trash can, how can they be put to good use?

 

Here are five ideas to stimulate a conversation with fellow coffee drinkers in your office about closing the used coffee ground loop and realizing the full potential of this incredible substance.

 

1.     Donate the used coffee grounds to your local community garden

Coffee grounds are great for the garden and contain a number of nutrients that are important for soil growth. As many urban community gardens are developed on recovered sites, they may be crying out for the rich nutrients found in used coffee grounds, such as nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium. Coffee grounds have also been shown to absorb heavy metals while attracting more worms to the soil. If you are not sure where your local community garden is located, the American Community Garden Association may have some useful advice. Working out a simple coffee ground collection and drop-off system in the office should be fairly easy and dropping off the coffee grounds could be a good excuse for some exercise and fresh air, as well as a chance to get in touch with a little slice of nature in your local area.

 

2. Use Coffee Grounds as Compost

This is the go-to, traditional way to reuse coffee grounds. Composting is a natural, decomposing process that turns organic waste such as food scraps into rich material called compost or humus.

Adding compost to your garden can help the soil retain more nutrients and water, which improves the health of plants. One study found that compost made with coffee grounds was richer in nutrients than compost made with waste alone. If no one in the office has a compost bin at home, it may be easier to drop off your coffee grounds to a local outlet, like this one in New York. The benefit of these drop off points is that they often accept food scraps as well, which means your sustainable coffee practices could easily expand to a broader sustainable kitchen initiative.

 

3. Grow Your Own Mushrooms in Used Coffee Grounds

Is this idea inspired by Chido Govera? Ok, you got me. But, why not start a mushroom garden? Mushrooms are delicious and are an important source of B vitamins and the mood-regulating antioxidant selenium. Eating mushrooms provides support for your immune system and helps prevent damage to cells and tissues. As we already know, used coffee grounds make a great growing base for mushrooms and there is the bonus that the coffee grounds from your workplace coffee machine are already sterilized through the brewing process (which would otherwise be an extra step). However, there are things to think about to make this idea work. Unless your office building has a spare ventilated basement or a greenhouse, a mushroom garden may be best implemented by one or more staff members in their own personal garden. For inspiration, why not check out the incredible knowledge and resources about mushroom growing from a mushroom farm near you. There are hundreds.

 

4. Make Coffee Ground Soap

After all of that gardening and composting, you may want to wash your hands. What about a soap that is known to combat strong odors, while giving your hands a nice exfoliation. Well, look no further than coffee soap! When used coffee grounds are paired with a gentler ingredient and made into a DIY soap, it can be just the trick to a great smelling, clean result. Coffee grounds are also known to have other benefits for the skin, such as fighting cellulite and removing dead skin cells. Again, this idea may involve a volunteer from your team to take this project on, or perhaps it could start as a yearly team event as part of a ‘sustainable coffee challenge’ to see who can make the best coffee soap. It may also be worth getting in touch with local schools in your area that could find this a fun DIY project idea for kids while closing the loop on coffee grounds. Who knows, maybe the hand-made coffee soap can be sold to raise money for your favorite charity.

 

5. Clean With Coffee Grounds

Natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are making a come back for multi-purpose cleaning that is good for the environment. Adding used coffee grounds to natural cleaning products make a great alternative to using a scourer, as their texture makes stain removal easy on a range of surfaces, from pots and pans to sinks and grills. Used coffee grounds are also great for polishing cutlery. As a natural deodorizer, a small number of used coffee grounds can eliminate odors from the fridge. Could a coffee style cleaning system could work in your office? Or perhaps members of your team may like to take home some used coffee grounds for use in their own personal kitchen. Either way, it’s a great step towards sustainable coffee practices and realizing the full potential of coffee.

 

So, with the feeling of inspiration that comes from considering the many ways used coffee grounds can realize their full potential and benefit society, why not start a sustainable coffee challenge in your office? You can share your story and photos on Instagram with the hashtag #fullcoffeepotential or contact us at https://moriondocoffee.com/contact with ‘sustainable coffee challenge’ in the subject line. The most creative ideas for reusing coffee grounds will be posted on the Moriondo Instagram page and blog.

 

Is it just me, or did that feel good coffee moment just get even better? Time to enjoy another cup.

Good Tasting Coffee: How to Identify Coffee Flavors

In order to appreciate the different types of coffee available, it's important to cultivate an awareness of its unique characteristics. Let's take a look at the way coffee connoisseurs judge different cups of coffee.

Aroma

The scent of a cup of coffee has a direct influence on how we perceive its flavor. As you drink coffee try to notice if the scent is smoky, fruity, earthy, spicy, nutty or grassy.

Acidity

One of the most defining characteristics of a cup of coffee is its acidity. This is the sharp, bright tangy quality of coffee that perks up our senses. Coffee doesn’t necessarily contain just one type of acid, either. It may contain citric acid, malic acid (fruity in flavor) or even quinic acid from stale coffee, which gives us stomach aches.

Body

This is the weight, thickness and texture of coffee in your mouth. The body of different types of coffee falls on a spectrum of light- to full-bodied viscosity (thin to thick).

Flavor

This is where comparisons come in handy and there is some overlap between aroma and flavor. Your coffee might taste bitter, sweet, savory or sour with common comparisons to chocolate, wine or fruit.

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