Jody Victor: A Jolt of Environmentalism in a Cup of Coffee?

Laura Holden, writer for the Oxford Student, illuminates coffee lovers of the environmental impact the grounds of their favorite beverage have on the environment and the very easy solution to the issue.

She writes:

“The organic waste of coffee drinking is an environmental headache. It may keep us awake in lectures, but coffee waste ends up in landfills, contributing to greenhouse gases and further increasing the wasteful output of human activities.”

Holden also notes that in the U.K alone, coffee drinkers consume 55 million cups of coffee per day. And of those many cups, the grounds to create them end up only 18-20% used.

Holden describes one student run coffee grounds program:

“The Coffee Run is a project run by students volunteering with the Oxford Hub and with collaboration from the Oxford Circular Collective. Its aim is to redistribute coffee waste from cafés to allotments, using the waste as fertilizer and compost and creating a circular economy, where waste production of one good (coffee) is reused in the production of another good (fruit and veg).

It works by combining two fads of the day: coffee addiction and a Deliveroo style delivery system. On Coffee Run Fridays, volunteers will pick up the coffee grounds at a coffee shop, and then subsequently deliver them to an allotment over the weekend on their infamous Oxford bikes. “

While many of us do purchase to-go coffee, where we have no control over what happens to the grounds, many of us still brew coffee at home and can initiate a similar program, on the micro level, in our own daily lives.

Holden tells her readers that the coffee grounds have phosphorus and potassium, even a little nitrogen. “Acid-loving plants” will like coffee grounds best as and are even know as a slug and snail deterrent. It seems coffee grounds from the average household could easily be recycled into the environment through any lawn, flower garden or planted patch of mulch.

Holden even cites a recent Leeds Beckett University study which concluded that coffee grounds “represent an under-utilised high nutrient material with potential to be exploited.”

What will you do with your grounds?

Egg Coffee

The Victor crew has heard of a lot of things but this is the first time we heard of Egg Coffee. Turns out it’s a thing. It originated in Scandinavia and to this day out west, the Scandinavian-Americans still make it. Here is their method:

Egg Coffee
9 cups water to boil plus another 1 1/4 cups cold water separated
3/4 cup medium to coarse ground coffee
1 egg

Bring the 9 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or enamel coffee pot. While that is boiling, stir togeter ground coffee, 1/4 cup water and the egg. You can even use the crushed shell if you want. When the water is boiling, pour in the egg-coffee mixture being careful not to let it boil over. Boil for 3 minutes. The grounds will float in a single mass. After the 3 minutes, remove from heat and pour in 1 cup cold water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh into cups. (10 cups coffee.)

Hmm… Maybe we’ll have to try this!


Coffee all around!

The Victor crew found a cool article highlighting other uses of coffee around the house.
It talks about using it in different ways:

In the garden:
As a deterrent to snails and slugs. To attract worms. As compost.

In crafts:
Make and add to candles for that aroma throughout the house. As a paint medium. To age or stain wood or clothes.

In the kitchen:
As a dry rub for your meats. In chili. As a deodorant in your refrigerator. As a pot scour. As a hand deodorant or soap after chopping onions or garlic.

In the living room:
Use as an air freshener. Fix scratches on furniture.

In the bathroom:
Rejuvenate your hair color. Exfoliant for scalp or skin. Daily scrub.

Jody Victor® finds out about coffee grinders

There are 2 types of coffee grinders: blade or burr. Which is better? Jody wanted to know. Here is what he found out.

There are basically 2 types of coffee grinders: blade and burr.

Blade grinders. This is the least expensive type of grinder. It uses a blade to cut up the beans. The fineness of the grind is dependent on how long you let the grinder run. The resulting grounds can be uneven giving an inconsistent brew. If you let it run for a long time to get a finer ground, it can get hotter than you want giving the brew a burned taste. These are for basic use but be careful of how you grind them.

Burr grinders. This type of grinder crushes the beans between a non-moving surface and a grinding wheel. The position on the burr regulates the ground size. There are 2 types of burr grinders.

  • Wheel burr – The wheel spins fast and it can be noisy and more messy. This is the least expensive.
  • Conical burr – This is the best grinder you can get. The burr spins slower so they are quieter and less messy. You can use this type grinder for oilier or flavored coffees with less likelihood of clogging. You will pay a lot more for this type.