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COFFEE ROASTING
BY-PRODUCTS

It isn't just coffee beans that come out of a coffee roaster...

Collecting and recycling used coffee grounds

Once our customers have ordered, received and brewed their latest batch of Eco Coffee we can collect the used coffee grounds in sealed special repurposed tubs. These grounds then get bought back to specialised recycling centres near us in Dorset and they then get recycled through anaerobic digestion and turned into energy, specifically electricity for the national grid. In June 2024 we switched over to ecotricity for our own roastery, meaning Eco Coffee is not only roasted and packaged using 100% renewable energy from solar and wind farms, but we also put energy back in to the national grid. This means we are not only powering our own roaster using renewable energy, we can now help power other locations too.

For other energy sources

Used coffee grounds can also be turned in to coffee logs, briquettes and pellets for use in BBQs, wood fires, log burners and even solid fuel coffee roasters as well (seomthing we are moving towards ourselves). They also produce more heat than standard wood, so more bang for your buck! Some places will use additives in their coffee log production like wax, wood shavings and molasses. Be wary when researching how to make your own coffee logs as there are some places which end up using less than environmentally positive products to create coffee logs/briquettes etc.

We are currently deep in the research phase of creating our own coffee logs as-well as switching to a solide-fuel coffee roaster... These are very high up on our project list so keep your eyes peeled.

Your Own Used Coffee Grounds

That was what WE do with our used coffee grounds, if we can't collect your grounds then these are some ideas as to what you can do with them at home.

Compost your coffee grounds

"This is perhaps the easiest way to avoid putting your coffee grounds in the general waste bin. Used coffee grounds are great for compost as they add nitrogen that helps organic materials break down into mulch and, eventually, nutrient-rich fertilizer.

If you don’t already have a kitchen compost bin, you can create one simply by disposing of all your organic kitchen waste (fruits, vegetables, egg shells etc.) in one container. Make sure you have a lid and empty it outdoors regularly to stave off fruit flies.

If you don’t have your own garden to store or use the compost on, why not see if any friends, family, neighbours or the local allotments will take it off your hands?"

Grow gourmet mushrooms in your old coffee

"It’s possible to grow mushrooms with used coffee grounds by mixing them with straw and spores and cultivating them in sealed bags. The bags are first incubated in the dark at 20-24°c for 2-3 weeks, before holes are added and the bags are placed in autumn conditions. Mushrooms can be harvested a couple of weeks later! (Find more information at Grocycle.com)

The useful thing about using coffee grounds rather than other organic materials is that they’ve already been sterilised during the coffee brewing process. Normally, the straw or sawdust needs to be pasteurised using hot water or steam, but using coffee grounds cuts this step out the process."

Touch up furniture scratches

"Because of the natural dye in coffee and the mildly abrasive texture of the grounds, they can be used to soften the appearance of surface scratches on wooden furniture. Mix your used coffee grounds with a small amount of olive oil and then use a small corner of cloth or cotton wool to rub lightly over the scratch. Wipe clean 5-10 minutes after and then repeat if necessary."

Used coffee grounds can absorb strong odours

"Coffee grounds are extremely absorbent, which is why fresh coffee grounds can spoil if left unsealed in your fridge. But these absorbent properties work the other way too, meaning you can use them to absorb unwanted odours. Placing an open jar of dried, used coffee grounds in your fridge can keep smells at bay."

Source: https://thebarista.co.uk/blog/what-to-do-with-used-coffee-grounds

'Coffee Chaff'

Most coffee beans have a dry external layer, or skin, which is shed from the bean whilst it is being roasted. This is extracted from the roasting drum and collected in a special chaff chamber. And while 'Chaff Chamber' sounds like a below average, part-time wrestler, it is alot more beneficial and interesting than that. 

In Your Garden

"Because it is organic and hydrophobic, it makes a great addition to regular mulch. By incorporating a three-inch layer of chaff onto your garden’s soil in autumn, you can considerably reduce soil erosion. In this context, the chaff will act as a soil cover.
The benefits are great, but monitoring the amount of coffee chaff you add to your garden is important. If you add too much, it can form a sticky barrier that keeps water and air away from the plants of your roots. Generally, sparsely sprinkling a few handfuls of it should suffice.
Being light and fluffy, chaff can easily mix with other compostable components. Plus, it technically comes from a plant, which means it is a powerhouse of natural goodness.
When the spring season has sprung, you can incorporate the remains of chaff from autumn into your soil. This will enhance soil fertility and boost the growth of your vegetable plants. It is especially effective for tomatoes.
The chaff will also keep pesky snails and slugs away from your garden. This is because these insects, which can potentially harm your vegetable patch, can’t stand the smell of coffee.
Beware – The Wind Can Steal Your Coffee Chaff. The wind can pick up your coffee chaff (owing to its light and airy nature) and run away with it – no jokes!
To prevent this from happening, you can layer chaff with compost."
 

For Your Animals

"If you have feathery and furry friends, such as chickens and rabbits, you can use coffee chaff as an alternative to their beddings.
It is feasible as animal bedding because it is free and upcycled. It is especially great for chickens because these feathery fellows need something to scratch, and giving them loads of chaff for this purpose will make them super happy.
Because it is light, coffee chaff is also easy to handle and pick up. If your chickens poop in their coop, the chaff will form clumps in the littered area. This makes it relatively easy to remove.
Plus, it has the beautiful aroma of coffee – your backyard animals will thank you for it."
Source: https://coffeextraction.com/coffee-basics/what-you-can-do-with-coffee-chaff/
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