So, you’ve started to notice that your daily coffee habit is burning a hole in your wallet. As you look around for ways to cut down on costs, you come across a few voices online recommending that you reuse your coffee grounds another time after the initial brewing; is this common? Safe? Completely disgusting? We set out to answer this question, and what we found was very interesting.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first; if you’re serious about the flavor profiles and ratios in your coffee, you probably don’t want to reuse your grounds. That extra cup will almost certainly not taste the same as the first, and if you’re looking for that extra-fresh pick-me-up multiple times a day, you’re going to need to pony up for additional grounds.
That said, if you’re someone who puts a generous amount of creamer and sugar in your coffee, you may not notice this difference as much. In these situations, it may be okay to reuse your grounds, but only if you do it quickly.
Reusing the same coffee grounds twice in a day is one thing, but waiting an entire day or more is probably not a good idea. Unless you’re dumping and thoroughly drying the grounds in between uses, you’ll likely find that saturated, soggy coffee grounds are an excellent breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, and even molds. This can happen exceptionally quickly, and if you leave them sitting for 3 or more days, you will absolutely want to throw them out.
In addition, it’s also important to never use grounds more than two times, max. Not only will the coffee just taste completely horrible, but you’ll be wasting water at that point as well, so there’s really no point to trying to stretch things this far.
If you’re still looking to find a use for your spent grounds other than taking up space in your garbage, you could try drying them out and using them as a skin exfoliator, or as an abrasive for cleaning particularly difficult dishes.
You could also make them into compost, as worms love coffee almost as much as you do! Just be sure that you’re keeping them nice and clean, especially if you’re wanting to use them on your body.
At the end of the day, regardless of what anyone will tell you, it isn’t going to hurt anything to reuse your coffee grounds, especially if each brew is shortly after the other. With that said, you won’t want to make it a habit, and you absolutely shouldn’t try to get more than two brews out of the same set of grounds. If you can keep this in mind, you’ll be just fine.
Have any other questions about reusing coffee grounds, or any ideas you have for giving spent grounds a job in your home? Share them with other readers below.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.