Why are there still coffee grains left in a K-Cup after use?
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Answer by PurelyCoffeeBeans.com:
The coffee made in a brewer (like a drip coffee maker, espresso machine, Keurig) is used to extract the liquid. The coffee powder left isn’t like instant coffee. It can’t be dissolved by the hot water because the grains are too big for that (though Starbucks seems to have perfected micro-grinding for its own Via coffee), and won’t be included in your drink so your drink doesn’t taste ‘gritty’. This is normal for most coffee drinks.
I. French Press coffee leaves coffee grains
If you want to try gritty coffee, just order a jug of French press when you’re in a restaurant, once you drink it, you can then pour the last of the coffee from the jug, you’ll see solids in your coffee… and they will taste a little bitter/gritty.
So does Turkish coffee!
Or perhaps try Turkish coffee, that’ll definitely leave coffee grains in the bottom of your cup!
It’s best to leave them at the bottom of the pot or your cup if you notice them. They’ll be a bit unpleasant if you’re expecting a smooth liquid! Don’t worry they’re not bad for you… they just taste bad.
You’ll also notice this phenomenon also in Greek coffee traditions, where the coffee solids are left at the bottom of cup. It’s a result of how the coffee brew is extracted slowly by heat and stirring. Quite different!
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You can use any remaining coffee grains to fertilize your garden by composting them… BTW Keurigs are very wasteful of the caps you use, unless you recycle the caps/coffee. More at Quora.
II. Are coffee grains harmless? Can I eat them?
In short, yes. They are indeed harmless. Your body will digest them quite easily. You will of course be adding to your fiber content, the taste may be unpleasant, and the grittiness may annoy your teeth. But for the most part, you are perfectly fine eating coffee grains.
There won’t even be much of a caffeine effect because most of the caffeine content has already been extracted by the brewing process. The only real problem is if you take a swig of your coffee, and you catch the grains in your throat! That may set you off coughing for a wee while. Don’t you know that coffee beans (whole or ground) are often eaten as a treat?
III. So how can you stop coffee grains getting into your cup?
A lot comes down to the particular coffee method. If you are really bothered by this and you’re not satisfied with a few coffee grains at the bottom of your cup, you need to consider using a paper filter method for brewing coffee.
I’d suggest switching to either drip coffee makers or manual pour coffee makers. You can either use a fine gold coffee filter or traditional filter papers. Both of these will filter 100% of the fines in the cone before the coffee gets into your cup. It’s particularly effective.
IV. But I’m making espresso in a full-on espresso machine!
If you’re making espresso, and using a full on grinder, I reckon you may want to find out why the grains are getting through the portafilter. In espresso, they’re not considered pleasant. Home Barista offers insight into this.
So what do you do with your old coffee grounds? There are several coffee shops and convenience stores around my house where I’ve seen farmers coming by to collect used espresso grounds for composting! What do you do with the old coffee grains? Do you throw, compost, recycle or reuse these coffee grains?
For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page