Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds And Brew Twice?

Coffee grounds are used for a one-time brew, but can you reuse coffee grounds for a second pot? This article offers advice on reusing coffee grounds.

Can you reuse coffee grounds?
Coffee grounds are brewed once

Coffee can be expensive, and sometimes it can seem like a waste to brew coffee just once and then toss out the grounds. In the name of pinching pennies, it can seem like a fairly easy way to get more out of a purchase, and if the coffee is especially good, why not?

But does it really make sense to use the same coffee grounds to brew twice? Unfortunately, if you’re tempted to try this tactic, the second batch of coffee is unlikely to be very good–so I recommend against it.

However, there are a few different ways you can get more mileage out of your spent beans. Read on to learn more!

Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds? No Second Chances

Pouring hot water from steel kettle in filter with ground coffee
Brewing coffee ground twice won't give you good flavors

As tempting as it may be, it just isn’t worth it to try and get the second batch of brewed coffee out of coffee grounds you’ve already brewed. The process of brewing the coffee the first time extracts the volatile compounds and oils that give it the rich, delicious flavor that every coffee lover appreciates.

While, of course, one round of brewing doesn’t take everything out of the beans all at once, it means the second batch of coffee won’t have the good flavors you’re looking for: instead, it’s more likely to taste burned, weak, and dull all at the same time.

What About Zero Waste?

Some frugal-minded souls insist that there has to be a way to make use of the spent grounds, and some sources suggest that cold brew is one way of extracting at least some of the leftover flavor of previously-brewed coffee beans.

My grandmother told us stories about the poorer families she knew, growing up during the Great Depression, who would use the same coffee grounds to brew a pot two, three, or even four times. But those families knew what anyone who tries to re-brew coffee would quickly learn: since the best parts of coffee are water-soluble, the first extraction takes them out, leaving less to enjoy.

 Just because you can’t get another pot or batch of coffee out of your used grounds, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with just throwing them away. Instead of tossing the used grounds, you can do many other things to get a secondary use out of the spent coffee. In fact, there are even some ways you can profit from your used up coffee beans if you keep an eye out.

One easy method of putting your used coffee grounds to work for you is by composting them. Coffee grounds make an excellent compost material: they break down quickly, especially since earthworms and some other garden-friendly critters love them. The brewing process doesn’t extract all of the nutrients that are in the beans, either, so they still have lots of nitrogen and other minerals that growing plants need. 

In fact, coffee grounds are so useful in composting operations that you might even be able to sell your used grounds. Some companies will buy used coffee grounds for their operations.

While you’re unlikely to get a large amount of money by selling your used coffee grounds, it’s one use you can put them to that will help you feel less wasteful. Even if you don’t sell the used coffee off, there are a lot of options for giving your spent coffee grounds a second life, and all of them are better than trying to get another batch of brewed coffee out of them. 

Author

  • Savannah is a coffee lover who took her appreciation of the brew to the next level starting in college, becoming a barista before combining her love of writing with her affection for a good brew. She has written for several publications including Cracked.com and TopTenz, and also works as a ghostwriter.