Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I thought I would share another way to use those left over coffee grounds. Since the weather here in southern California is so dry, the plants in my yard often lack the needed nutrients to bloom when they are in season. I decided to add used coffee grounds into the soil to see if it would help.

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Photo By: Quinn Dombrowski (Coffee grounds in the garden)

In past years, the orange tree would not give much fruit, if any. This year, I have been able to pick bags of juicy oranges for me and my family. Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which is important for the roots of plants since it helps them take in proteins and water. The important factor in adding the used grounds to the soil of your plants is to make sure that you add them into the soil and not just on top of the ground.

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Photo By: Me (Orange tree in my backyard)

This is a good way to help your gardens stay green, especially if you live in a dry location like myself.

 

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The Grind

As a barista, I have access to piles of coffee beans. Family and friends ask me to supply them with their beans, and I am happy to oblige. Recently, my aunt asked if I could get her a pound of the Thanksgiving coffee blend that’s sold at the store I work at, so I did. My aunt, however, does not have a grinder and asked me if I could grind them for her. I asked her what type of coffee maker she owned, which was a paper filter one, and I proceeded to grinding the beans accordingly.

Photo By: robin_ottawa
Photo By: robin_ottawa

Brewing coffee is chemistry, and making it correctly requires a certain amount of water, the correct grind and the correct amount of ground coffee. If any of these three are out of balance, the result is bad coffee. It can taste too strong or too watered down, depending on which of the three major components is not added. Another thing to consider when brewing is how you like to drink it. Some prefer a stronger taste, while others enjoy a cup that is on the weaker side. Online measuring charts provide us with the appropriate measurements to follow if you ever forget. Since I enjoy strong coffee, I always use two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee with six fluid ounces of water. If I am making some for my dad, who prefers a weaker coffee, I only use one tablespoon with six fluid ounces of water.

Photo By: Morning Brew
Photo By: Darin House

I do not own a nice fancy coffee grinder at home since I have access to one where I work. However, I do own a small manual coffee grinder that I can only use to grind a few tablespoons at a time. Once, while I was in the middle of using my little grinder, my mom suggested that I use the blender instead. I almost exploded! Although her suggestion made sense, I could never manage putting precious coffee beans through the torture of being ground improperly. I had to explain to her that the blades in a blender were not made to grind the beans properly. Each method of brewing coffee calls for a different type of grind. If you use a french press type of coffee maker, then the grounds will be more coarse than if you are using a paper filter method. Only a coffee grinder can correctly grind the beans, since it can be adjusted according to the brewing method you are using.

Another component to making great tasting coffee is to know how long you can keep it before it goes bad. Just like any other food, coffee has an expiration date. An unopened bag of coffee beans can last for up to nine months. Once the beans are ground, the shelf life goes down. Ground coffee is most fresh when used within a week of being ground. Any length of time over a week would compromise the taste, so I suggest grinding one pound at a time in order to always have a fresh cup available.

Have fun brewing!

Coffee Gift Idea for the Holidays

During the holidays I feel the need to buy gifts for all my loved ones. I, unfortunately, don’t make enough money to splurge on expensive gifts. If you are in a similar situation, then you might enjoy this idea. I decided to make everyone on my list something inexpensive and useful. Of course, I will be using coffee. I am talking about coffee soap. It smells amazing and it’s incredible for your skin.

Photo By: Me
Photo By: Me

The ingredients are probably around your house, and if not, they are easy to find at a reasonable price. If you have those mini hotel soaps laying around your house, bust them out. Otherwise, you can get some inexpensive soap at the dollar store or get a bundle of it for around 10 dollars at a craft store, if you want to make a larger amount. You will also need coffee grounds, a muffin tin or some type of mold. All you need to do is melt the soap in the microwave in 10 second intervals.

Photo By: Me
Photo By: Me

Put some grounds in the muffin tin, pour the liquid over them and wait for it to set. Once they harden you can wrap them up however you’d like. Voila, the perfect gift!

Photo By: Me
Photo By: Me
Photo By: Me
Photo By: Me