After you use your press, what do you do with those very wet and pesky grounds or silt at the bottom of the coffee press and the coffee cup?

One of our customers emailed Mike and asked him about the silt leftover in her french press and coffee cup. If you have the same or similar questions, here is a blog post (and part of our FAQ section).Cup with grounds

Question: After pressing, the bottom of the press still has maybe an ounce or so of liquid left along with the grounds. What is a practical way to clean that up? Can coffee grounds go down the drain/disposer? If not, I don’t like to dump all that liquid in my garbage either (see above question). I read it can go in the garden and then read that coffee grounds can stunt the growth of certain plants/flowers. So I’m curious about what specifically you (or other people) do to clean up the press after making the coffee? 

  1. First, make sure you have pressed all the way down, but don’t press too hard, or you will end up squeezing more silt into your coffee cup. My suggestion is you leave the press on an angle in your sink for a bit to have all residual liquid slowly drain out.
  2. As far as putting the grounds down the drain, we asked this very same question to a licensed professional plumber. He said coffee grounds should not go down the drain as they might collect in the drain trap or other places along the way and could cause your drain lines to back up.
  3. You can put those grounds around acid-loving plants like rhododendrons, hydrangeas, camellias, daffodils, blueberries, nasturtiums, and azaleas. Coffee is great for composting. The grounds help to aerate the soil and add back certain nutrients that are good for most plants. We have not heard of any plants that they can damage but they may cause decreased growth. Regardless, you might want to research your specific plant type first and verify that the grounds are or aren’t beneficial.
  4. Personally, in the winter, we dump ours (once they are somewhat dry) in with our garbage. We find that our waste doesn’t smell as a result. Coffee is an odorizer and absorbs other smells! Hence, one reason you do not want to leave fresh coffee beans/grounds exposed to air, they will absorb what is around them and get stale. Never put fresh beans/grounds in the fridge or freezer either. That is an entire topic of conversation in itself. See our article on “How to Keep your Coffee Fresh” in our Coffee blog section.
  5. We recycle plastic food containers during the growing season, dump our wet grounds into them, and then distribute them outside in our planting beds, around shrubs, etc. We have never had a problem doing so. 

Question 2: And my second question is similar. Even though I poured the prepared coffee into a cup, I also see some silt once I am near the end of the cup. Is that normal? Do you drink it or leave it?   

The silt at the bottom of the cup is totally normal. While it is edible, some people do not enjoy drinking it. You can swirl your cup more as you reach the bottom to sort of “stir” it up. Or, just leave the very bottom. That is a very European thing to do in some countries. They claim it is impolite to finish everything on your plate or cup, supposed to leave a little something. Others say that is an indication to your host that you want a refill. I say it is just something they made up long ago, so they didn’t have to drink the silt! LOL!!!

Here are some more tips for minimizing the silt at the bottom of the press:

  1. Do not press down all the way to the bottom of the press when brewing.
  2. Let the press stand for a few minutes after brewing, so the silt settles to the bottom.
  3. Pour slower from the press to not stir up what is at the bottom.
  4. When getting to the end of what is in the press, don’t put that in your cup. Slowly dump the liquid down the drain.
  5. Don’t drink to the bottom of your cup!

Learn to enjoy the silt! – LOL!!!

The Stever mentioned noticing the silt at the bottom of his cup on the Dahlcast show a while back. He concluded it was where the term “cup of mud” came from when referring to coffee! I LOLed that!

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