Updated: March 2, 2022 by Owen Richardson
I have to admit I love coffee so much that sometimes I get carried away and buy one too many bags of beans that just go stale on me after a while. The first time that happened, I found myself wondering what to do with old coffee beans. Do I throw them out, or are there some alternative uses that can come in handy?
It turns out there are quite a few things you can do with old coffee beans. They can be used in many different ways around the house and in the garden. The last thing you want to do is throw them out just because they are a bit stale.
That being said, I would suggest the one thing you should not use old coffee beans for is — making coffee. If you want to prepare coffee, you should always use beans within 2 to 4 weeks after their roast date. Coffee brewed with old beans will not necessarily cause you any health problems, but it will not taste or smell as good as coffee made from fresh beans.
The thing about coffee beans is that they do not go bad in the way that fruits and vegetables do. They will not get moldy or anything, but the taste will be compromised. That means you should not throw them out – just find something else to use them for.
If you have some old coffee beans and you are trying to put them to good use, you have come to the right place. In this guide, I will give you my 10 favorite uses for stale coffee beans that I bet you will love as well. So, if you are interested in learning more about them, just keep reading!
What to Do with Old Coffee Beans
As I mentioned, there are a ton of uses for old coffee beans. You can use them on your body, around the house, in the garden, and even as decorations or treats.
Once you see how many ways you can repurpose old coffee beans, you will start wondering why you didn’t think of these in the first place. To save you the time and trouble of doing your research, I will give you my 10 favorite things to do with old coffee beans. Here they are:
1. Make Chocolate Treats
Chocolate-covered espresso beans can be really expensive, but they are mouth-watering. I always wanted to try them out but could never afford them, which is why I decided to try and make them at home. Lucky for me, they turned out quite well!
If you have some stale coffee beans lying around, you can also make these treats yourself. All you need to do is melt some chocolate and put the beans in it, spread them around until they are completely covered with the chocolate, then take them out, and leave them to dry.
Once the covered beans are dry, you can serve them with some other chocolate treats and a cup of fresh coffee. Believe me, you will be stunned by how good they taste!
2. Use as Decorations
If you are naturally artistic, you can also try to create some decorations using stale coffee beans. Depending on the surroundings in your home, you can make a ton of things with these beans. Here are a few ideas:
If you have a clear vase, you can fill it up with the coffee beans and maybe use some fake flowers in it as well. Then, you can create a centerpiece with some coffee beans, placing some plastic fruits or even a candle in combination with them.
Finally, you can use them to make art, whether by yourself or with your children. You can try making jewelry or maybe even a collage by sticking them to a piece of cardboard using glue. The possibilities are endless—you just need to let the creative side take over and you will be good to go!
3. Fertilize Flowers and Plants
Let’s say that you are not a person who likes to spend a lot of time in the garden, but you do enjoy having nice flowers and greenery around. To have the best of both worlds, you will need something that can help you grow some nice flowers without going through any extra effort.
The easiest way to help your plants grow beautifully is to give them the nutrients they need, thus fertilizing them every so often. Well, it turns out that old coffee beans can serve as the perfect fertilizer!
Coffee beans are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and chromium. Once you put them in the soil, they will help your plants grow in no time. All you need to do is sprinkle them around your plants and leave them to do their thing!
4. Compost It
Coffee beans are the perfect fertilizer, but what happens if you already fertilized your plants with something else? Or what if you don’t have a garden or any plants that you need to fertilize?
First of all, I would suggest getting at least a few house plants because plants have a positive effect on life and make us a bit more relaxed, they minimize negative feelings and stress, and they reduce air pollution. But young plants will not need fertilization, so you will need to compost the coffee beans and keep them around for when they are needed.
If you want to compost coffee beans, you should spread them on top of the soil and cover them with some type of mulch. Then, you can also add some shredded paper or leaves and mix it all up. Once you have a pot that you want to fertilize, you can take a scoop of the compost pile and add it to the potted plant.
You can also use the compost beans for water retention and soil aeration. All of these things will give your plants a lot of benefits, so you should keep compost beans for them.
5. Conceal Under-Eye Circles
If you start to see some dark circles forming under your eyes, or maybe even a few wrinkles, you can use your old coffee beans to make your skin look better.
There are a lot of skincare products created to treat the under-eye area, and in case you don’t already know, all of them contain a certain amount of caffeine and antioxidants – the same ingredients that coffee beans contain!
Since the beans have the needed ingredients, you can use them instead of spending extra money on all those skincare products. What you need to do is grind the beans, mix them with some water or coconut oil until you get a paste, and then use that paste on the under-eye area.
Keep the paste on for about 10 minutes and then rinse it off carefully, making sure that none of the paste gets into your eyes. You can repeat this process every day or as often as needed – it will not harm the skin as long as you are gentle and careful with how you apply it.
6. Conceal Cellulite
If you are a woman, chances are you know how difficult it is to eliminate cellulite. Even with a lot of effort and training, there are still some parts of the body that will have visible cellulite.
In case you don’t know what cellulite is, it is accumulated fat under the skin that can cause it to look dimpled. Cellulite usually appears on the thighs and buttocks, but some people can have cellulite on other parts of the body as well.
If you have cellulite and want to conceal or reduce it, then you can use your stale coffee beans for that purpose. Using ground coffee beans on a part of your body will affect the fat under the skin and decrease it! All you need to do is mix the ground coffee beans with a bit of water or coconut oil, then apply the mixture to the skin and rub it around for about 10 minutes.
If you try this, I promise that you will see changes in just a couple of weeks. You can use this scrub on your body two or three times per week.
7. Use as a Body Scrub
There are a lot of body scrubs and exfoliating scrubs that you can purchase in stores. Considering how popular body scrubs are nowadays—most of the good scrubs come at a higher price not everyone can afford. So, if you don’t want to spend all that money on a scrub, you can always make one at home using coffee beans.
Your old coffee beans can be ground and used as an exfoliating scrub. Depending on your preference, you can use the grounds only or you can mix them with coconut oil, honey, or a few drops of water.
The next time you take a shower, make yourself a DIY coffee scrub and try it out. You will see how soft it will make your skin and how nice the skin will smell without any perfumes or deodorants. That is all because of the coffee beans—they will remove the dirt, make your skin healthier, and give it a better smell!
8. Use as a Natural Dye
Coffee beans can also be used for dyeing hair or fabric. You know how coffee can stain your clothes? If you want to do that on purpose, all you need to do is cook the coffee beans just like you would for a cup of coffee, then smear the beans on your clothes to dye them.
What is even better than this is that you can use the coffee beans to dye your hair. No longer will you have to rely on regular hair dyes that contain a lot of chemicals. Those dyes can damage your hair and harm your skin, while the look you get from them will not seem as natural.
If you are going for a deep brown natural color, you can achieve that with some coffee beans. So, what you should do is cook the coffee beans, then re-wet the beans and spread them all over your hair. You can also use the water in which you cooked the beans for the same purpose.
That being said, you should not expect the coffee beans to completely change your hair color. They work best on hair that is already pretty dark and they only enhance the color, making it more vibrant.
9. Use for Hair Growth
Aside from using coffee beans as a body scrub and exfoliator, you can also use them to scrub your scalp. You might not realize this, but using your fingertips is not enough to remove all the buildup from your scalp. You need to use something a bit harsher if you want to exfoliate the scalp completely.
Now, there are a lot of scalp brushes you can purchase for only a few dollars and use for this purpose. However, if you have some old coffee beans lying around, you can also use them as well.
What you need to do is grind the coffee beans then use them directly on the scalp and spread them around. You should scrub your scalp gently so as not to cause any stress because that can lead to hair loss. Once you are done with the scrub, you should rinse your hair just like you would do regularly.
When you remove the buildup from the scalp, you will stimulate new hair growth and help the existing hair become stronger. You can use the coffee beans for this purpose once or twice every week and, when you do, remember to be very gentle and careful!
10. Neutralize Odors
You might not know this but coffee beans can eliminate unpleasant smells. This is because they contain nitrogen and nitrogen can battle odors when it combines with carbon from the air.
Depending on where the smell comes from, you can place the coffee beans there. For example, if you find that your refrigerator has adopted an odor and a thorough scrub is not enough to remove it, you can place a bowl of coffee beans on the shelf and let them do their thing.
You can do the same with your wardrobe. What I like to do is put some coffee beans in a sock or pantyhose and let them sit in the wardrobe for as long as needed. You can also put them in a gym bag, in shoes, in drawers, or even in your car if you need to.
Finally, another use for coffee beans is to remove odors from your hands. Let’s say that you have been cleaning all day long, or you chopped some garlic and now your hands smell bad. You do not have to wash them over and over— just scrub your hands with some coffee beans and you will find that they will start smelling fresh right away!
FAQs on Using Stale Coffee
Now that I have told you all about the many uses for expired coffee beans and grounds, I want to share another piece of information with you before I finish this guide. Here is one of the most frequently asked questions in regards to this topic:
Does putting coffee in the freezer keep it fresh?
If you have some coffee beans that you want to keep from going stale, you can try to preserve them by storing them in the freezer. However, my suggestion would be to grind them first and then store them.
Once you grind your coffee beans, you should put them in an air-tight container, possibly one that is dark or opaque. If you store them properly, they will stay fresh for at least a couple of weeks, but I do not recommend keeping them for longer than that.
If possible, try to use the coffee beans while they are fresh, but any that are even a little bit stale can be used in any of the ways I mentioned above rather than for actual drinking coffee.
If You Can’t Drink Brew ‘Em, Use ‘Em!
Thank you for sticking with me through this guide on what to do with old coffee beans. I hope that you liked the interesting uses that I mentioned and hope you will try at least a few of them out.
Let me know in the comment section if you know any additional uses for stale coffee beans that you think I should add to this list. I am always open to suggestions!