Is it safe to eat coffee grounds?

In this text, we are going to answer the question “Is it safe to eat coffee grounds?”. We will also discuss the coffee grounds, its various uses, its benefits and what are the damages with the disposal of this material in garbage disposal.

Is it safe to eat coffee grounds?

Yes, it is safe to eat coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are nothing more than the parts of the roasted coffee that were not extracted by the hot water during the preparation of the coffee. So, just as it is safe to eat coffee beans, it is also safe to eat coffee grounds. In addition, there are many beneficial health compounds present in these wastes. 

It is a pity that they are still improperly disposed of and that they are not reused as there are many applications for these valuable wastes. Even at home, you can reuse coffee grounds. You can add it to recipes such as cakes, thus increasing the amount of fiber in these homemade products. 

But if you don’t want to consume them, you can use them for other functions, such as fertilizing your plants.

Coffee grounds have several health benefits due to the presence of bioactive compounds.  Coffee grounds do not present any contraindications for consumption. Coffee grounds are a residue of the coffee beverage preparation process. 

Thus, it is a material that has the same composition as the coffee bean, without the compounds that were extracted for the drink.

Furthermore, it is a valuable material that is discarded. Improper disposal can bring environmental problems, so its use is important. It can be applied to food products and even used for film production.

Coffee grounds can be applied to food products. However, other applications are possible, such as the formation of biodegradable films.

What is the composition of the coffee grounds?

The composition of the coffee grounds can vary depending on the method used to make the coffee. In the preparation of the beverage, such as instant coffee in which the beans after roasting and grinding are subjected to extraction with water at 175 °C under pressurized conditions to remove soluble solids and volatile compounds. 

When we talk about Espresso coffee, water, at a pressure of approximately 9 bar and a temperature of around 92 °C, passes through the ground coffee bean for the production of the beverage.

In this way, Espresso coffee beans are richer in organic compounds than depleted industrial beans.

Researches have been developed, in order to to provide a sustainable application to the coffee grounds, such as the use of it without pretreatment in the cultivation of mushrooms and in the adsorption of dyes cationic for wastewater treatments.

In addition, more recent research indicates health benefits of coffee grounds for humans, as an in vitro research indicates that the polyphenols present in the coffee grounds can be fermented by microbiota and may inhibit cancer cell survival of colon.

However, despite the studies carried out, most of these residues, rich in organic compounds, remain unused, being discarded from inappropriate and harmful to the environment.

Coffee beans are a rich source of polysaccharides, around 30 to 43% (dry basis), depending on the degree of roasting, being the main polysaccharides, galactomannans, type II arabinogalactans and cellulose.

Galactomannans represent approximately 50% of the total polysaccharides in the espresso coffee grounds, while arabinogalactans and cellulose represent equally proportions.

What are the losses of discarding coffee grounds in garbage disposal?

The disposal of coffee grounds in landfills or direct use of it for composting or feeding animals should be avoided because it presents substances such as caffeine, tannins and polyphenols.

This residue can be toxic to the ecosystem of groundwater, agriculture or the organism of animals. In addition, the high lignin content, around 25%, is considered a limiting factor in the use of the coffee grounds as feed for ruminants, pigs, birds and rodents.

In this way, like most residues, the coffee grounds also reveal themselves as an environmental problem.

However, it is a potential by-product as it is rich in organic compounds such as fatty acids, amino acids, polyphenols, minerals and especially polysaccharides, being able to generate value-added products if given a suitable destination.

While the substances extracted from the roasted beans for the production of the beverage represent about 5 to 10% of the cherry coffee, the dregs are responsible for 45 to 50% (m/m). Thus, it presents a considerable volume.

Other FAQs about Coffee that you may be interested in.

Is it hard to make a Chinese coffee mousse cake recipe?

Is it ok to drink coffee everyday?

Is it okay to drink coffee on an empty stomach?


In this text, we answered the question “Is it safe to eat coffee grounds? ”. We also discussed the coffee grounds characteristics, its various uses, its benefits and what are the damages with the disposal of this material in garbage disposal.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.