Posted in Kafevend Blog

If you're a committed coffee drinker, the chances are you're forever up to your ears in coffee grounds. Not for you the convenience of the jar of instant, so as you scape the grounds from your cafetière for the umpteenth time, do you ever find yourself wondering if they could be put to better use than as a pleasantly pungent bin filler? Well yes, they certainly could. Just as a puppy isn't only for Christmas, neither is coffee just a drink or cake ingredient!

Perhaps you're already adding your coffee grounds to your compost. If so, all well and good; they contain essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium, plus they release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. Particularly beneficial for acid loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and roses, this strong smelling alternative to fertilizer might also help to deter neighbourhood cats from digging up your plants and could even act as a repellent to slugs, ants and other creepy crawlies that dislike acidic soil. And while we're on the subject of insects, it's said that cockroaches are attracted to the smell of coffee; so if you ever suffer an infestation, you could try creating an ingenious trap laced with coffee and avoid having to call the pest controllers in!

Most of us tend to love the strong smell of coffee, even if we're less keen on the taste and unsurprisingly you can capitalise on the aroma by using coffee grounds to deodorise your fridge or a musty shoe cupboard! The coffee will absorb unwanted smells at the same time as giving off its own more desirable aroma. Similarly, you can rub your hands with coffee grounds after preparing food such as fish, onions or garlic.

Coffee grounds are abrasive, so if you've run out of scourers you can always turn to your used grounds to get the pots and pans clean, though it's not just saucepans that can be cleaned up either. If your skin is looking like it would benefit from exfoliation to perk it up through winter's cold, dark days, look no further than your coffee grounds which can be used as an all over body scrub. This is an idea which has been capitalised on by Australian company Frank Body, which offers a range of coffee based body scrubs mixed with other natural ingredients, which have been developed to combat everything from cellulite and stretch marks to acne and eczema; such is the power of the bean! If you prefer the sound of the commercial alternative to your own home made variety, you can find the company online and postage and packing is free in the UK.

Coffee works a treat on the hair too. You'll need a cooled coffee brew for this approach, not the grounds. Apply to the hair as a final rinse and leave to soak in for a quarter of an hour or so; it can then be rinsed out to produce a nice shiny finish. However, it's possible that coffee can do more than merely give your hair a healthy glow. German shampoo company Alpecin has funded research into caffeine's ability to promote hair growth and generally strengthen hair. The resulting product has been aimed at men worried about hereditary baldness. If you notice your loved one applying used grounds to his head, he's not going mad – just trying to save his hair... and some money!

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