Coffee Chaff: The Weirdest Things Left Behind

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on June 30th, 2022

Though it’s not a widely known product, it has several uses. In this article, you’ll learn more about coffee chaff, where it comes from, and how you can use it in your everyday life.

What is coffee chaff?

The protective skin of a coffee bean’s seed is called coffee chaff. It is dry and scaly, and it scales off during roasting. Although this part of the bean is usually thrown, note that it can be recycled as compost for your garden.

coffee chaff

Let’s go and dive deeper into the coffee chaff to learn more!

How is it made?

As stated, coffee chaff is the waste product of the process of coffee manufacturing. It’s the coffee bean’s green skin before roasting. Once the roaster heats up, the coffee chaff will start falling off effortlessly and eventually need to be filtered out. 

Roasters at home typically house a feature that collects the chaff automatically once they scale off. But, if you purchase pre-roasted beans, rest assured that the chaff will no longer be there. 

What is coffee chaff used for?

Unfortunately, manufacturers usually throw coffee chaff away. But if you’re the type to roast your beans, we hope you do not do the same.

Remember that not all of the coffee chaff will be removed if you roast your own using a home roaster. While a drink with pure coffee chaff will taste unpleasant, a cup with little coffee chaff should be almost unnoticeable. But if you have the time to pick them out before brewing, the better!

One of the uses of coffee chaff, possibly the most common, is that it can be utilized as a natural fertilizer. It came from a plant; thus, it houses some natural goodness. So, sprinkle the coffee chaff all over your plants for your plants to enjoy the chaff’s goodness!

One thing to remember is that too much of it may not be beneficial as that may create a barrier of sorts. However, a little coffee chaff should be more than enough for your plants to enjoy the benefits. 

You may also incorporate it into your compost heap as it breaks down quickly and spreads its nutrients to the compost. This way, there will be no risk of creating a barrier!

Some people also use coffee chaff as bedding for chickens and other animals. However, this is rare since beddings using other materials are typical of lower price tags.

Why is coffee chaff used for compost?

In composting terminology, coffee grounds are a “green” that supplies nitrogen to compost with a C:N ratio of approximately 20:1. Coffee also supplies up to 2% potassium, phosphoric acid, and potash.

On the negative side, an internet search would reveal that coffee is acidic, and some say that it should only be applied to acid-loving plants, but then very few people will make coffee to spill it on their plants. In addition, the acid is water-soluble, so little remains in the soil used, which appears to have a pH of 6.5 to 6.8.

Can you eat coffee chaff?

Chaff isn’t always perfect for the taste of a cup of coffee, and some go to great lengths to extract it before brewing. New Zealand coffee company Kōkako made the last statement by making sweet treats using the roasting by-product.

Move back, sprinkle; coffee chaff is a fresh topping of ice cream, a fermented feijoa coconut ice cream with a dusting of coffee chaff and sea salt. For years, the company has been working with the most popular coffee by-product—cascara—to make a range of kombuchas.

Cascara syrup and chaff

Cascara syrup or extract is a natural sweetener for your coffee. It is made by completely drying out the skins of the coffee fruit. Then, these skins will be put into water with some sugar. Once it boils, a sweet syrup is produced. Also, the cascara syrup’s taste largely depends on the bean where the coffee chaff came from.

Can you buy coffee chaff?

Of course! If you’re lucky, you can even ask for some from your local bean roaster, and they’d be happy to give it for free. But, of course, if you roast your own, you will enjoy it a ton!

You may want to consider buying online if you do not find any coffee chaff available. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything on Amazon.


Koffee Kult sells coffee chaff for your organic and composting needs.

Be it creating a cascara syrup or using it as a natural fertilizer or compost, know that you’re helping the environment by reducing waste. So, good job!


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.