Beyond the Cup: Ways to Use Coffee Bags, Beans, and Grounds
We know you love drinking coffee as much as we do. But coffee is an amazing product in many ways, not just in its drinkable form. From the jute bags that coffee comes in, to the by-products of the roasting process, and even to the grounds left over after brewing, coffee is truly a versatile eco-friendly food.
Here are just a few ways that you can make use of the entire coffee lifecycle, from bean to cup and beyond!
GREEN COFFEE JUTE BAGS
Green coffee beans (that is, not yet roasted) come to us in jute bags that usually weigh from 132 to 154 pounds each, depending on the origin of the beans. As you might imagine, after a busy week of roasting we end up with a lot of empty bags!
But since jute is biodegradable and recyclable, these bags can be reused in so many ways in our community. We often donate them to organizations that host beach sweeps, such as the Carolina Surf Brand and Charleston Water Keepers. The jute bags make excellent trash receptacles that are strong, but will naturally biodegrade.
We also send bags to our neighboring farms, especially in winter when the temperature can dip here in the Lowcountry. Our friends at Blue Pearl Farms use the bags to cover their blueberry plants from the cold. Since the jute has a loose weave, it allows the plants to breathe while keeping them insulated against the weather.
Most of our bags have a design or picture on them, which designates the co-op or grower. This makes coffee bags a unique and interesting decorating item. Use them to make reusable shopping bags, laundry bags, or even curtains!
COFFEE CHAFF AND USED GROUNDS
When coffee is roasted, the papery chaff is removed and discarded from the beans. The chaff is excellent when used in your compost heap, or as mulch for your garden.
Used coffee grounds (that is, what is left over after you have brewed your coffee) are also very beneficial to your garden, either as mulch or in the compost heap. Coffee contains many compounds that promote healthy plant growth. Since coffee grounds are high in nitrogen, they are especially helpful to fast-growing vegetables such as tomatoes.
Another benefit of using coffee grounds for mulch is that it deters pests and bugs. The concentration of caffeine in the grinds is toxic to common garden pests, such as snails and slugs.
A bonus use for coffee grounds is to put them in your fridge and/or freezer in order to absorb odors, similar to baking soda.
Whole beans can be used for many things around the house as well. You can use them to line pathways outside, which will scent your garden with a wonderful coffee smell. Or put them on top of the soil in your potted plants as a beautiful pot filler.
You can use coffee beans for the same purpose inside as pot filler for your plants. Or use the beans to fill the bottom of vases to display cut flowers or hold candles.
We always have plenty of bags and chaff at our roasting facility. Please reach out to us if you would like some!