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Throwing away your coffee grounds is a natural part of the coffee-making process. However, you might have wondered about the possibilities of reusing coffee grounds for your next round of cold brew.
You can certainly reuse coffee grounds, but we do not recommend it. Almost all the goodness and flavors of the coffee grounds are extracted in the first round itself. However, if you’re running short on coffee grounds, we can familiarize you with a few techniques to get the most out of your used coffee grounds. If this interests you, this guide is for you!
How to Reuse Ground Coffee
Here are two ways you can reuse coffee grounds for cold brew.
Method #1: Re-brewing Coffee Grounds
Re-brewing coffee grounds creates a weak brew, so instead we will re-brew half of our coffee grounds with some fresh coffee.
The first brew will not have a long extraction time so we don’t over-extract the coffee. The second batch will re-brew the coffee with additional fresh coffee. You can stretch your coffee 50% further with this method.
Important: As you read the instructions it may seem like this is a bit like a sourdough starter method, but we do not want to do this infinitely. Each batch will deteriorate in quality and flavor since each batch contains partially used coffee. Only brew twice as described and then discard (or re-cycle) all of the coffee grounds.
1. Choose the Right Coffee Beans
Since you’re planning to reuse these beans, we suggest you go with a dark roast coffee, provided you don’t mind strong coffee. Opt for a coarse texture for cold brew coffee.
READ MORE: How To Grind Coffee Beans For Cold Brew?
2. Add the Water
Add half of your coffee grounds to a pitcher or mason jar. Add double the amount of water. So, if you are using 1/2 c. of coffee, add 1 c. of water.
3. Let the Coffee Grounds Brew
Soak the coffee in water for no more than 8 hours. Make sure you don’t go beyond this brew time, or you might end up extracting all the flavors.
4. Prepare Your First Serving
Strain your grounds from the water using a coffee filter, coffee sock, or cheesecloth. You should have a strong cup of cold brew, add water to dilute it as needed.
5. Prepare the Second Cup
Take the used coffee grounds and put them in a clean container (due to bacterial growth, I would start with a new container although if you were brewing in the fridge you could rinse out your container and re-use it–your choice).
Add the other half of your coffee grounds and add water. Keep the same ratio as before–how ever much coffee is in your container, add twice as much water.
Let this brew for 8-20 hours. You will discard the coffee grounds after this fully extract this brew!
Method #2: Preserving Coffee Grounds
This method is for anyone who doesn’t have a coffee maker at hand but still wants to reuse a batch of coffee grounds. It works best for people who don’t want to reuse filtered coffee grounds completely.
1. Get a Coffee Ground of Your Choice
Choosing the right coffee beans for cold brew is easily the most important step. You can either buy fresh grounds for your favorite coffee or crush the beans.
2. Prepare a Concentration Brew
Soak the coffee grounds in water for a concentrated brew. Remember to use at least 50 to 75 percent less water than you usually put in your coffee. So instead of 1 part coffee and 2 parts water, use 1 part coffee to 1 part or 1.5 parts water.
Example: 1 c. coffee grounds and 1 to 1.5 c. of water
Let it soak in the water for at least 10-12 hours for the best taste. You can also put the container in the refrigerator and leave it overnight.
3. Prepare Your First Serving
Strain out some of the coffee liquid as a concentrate and dilute to taste. Add more water to the brewing container to bring the water level back to where it was before you removed some to drink.
With this method, you are essentially brewing, removing a portion, and then adding back some more water and letting it brew longer.
4. Store the Remaining Brew
After the coffee has brewed up to 10-16 additional hours, you can strain it and store the remaining brew. The first glass that you have (in step 3) will be a nice strong concentrate but the second brew will be a little weaker and may need less dilution to be drinkable.
Things to Keep in Mind When Reusing Coffee Grounds
Before you reuse coffee grounds for your next round of coffee, make sure you tick these off your checklist:
1. Don’t brew it for too long. If you over-extract the coffee grounds, it will turn your coffee bitter. A good way to reduce the bitterness is to cut down on brew time, and only re-use your grounds once.
2. Reused coffee grounds are more likely to be flavorless and dull. You can avoid this by using rich-flavored beans right off the bat.
3. It’s best not to have high expectations from reused coffee grounds. These methods will give you satisfactory coffee in a pinch, but certainly not as good as fresh grounds.
Can You Reuse Coffee Grounds Again and Again?
Typically, you shouldn’t use a coffee ground batch more than twice. Two rounds are enough to extract 100% of its flavors and taste. When you taste that second brew, you won’t want to try for a third extraction!
What Happens When You Use a Coffee Grounds Batch More Than Twice?
If the coffee beans are overused, your coffee taste will turn unfathomably bitter and dull. It will be unpalatable and weak.
Can you reuse coffee grounds for cold brew? Yes!
Quality aromatic coffee beans and grounds can make a homemade coffee comparable to a professional coffee shop. That’s why we do not recommend reusing coffee grounds if you want a lip-smacking cup of coffee. But if you’re left with no other choice, we hope the techniques mentioned above will come in handy to stretch your coffee grounds further.