Leave No Trace and coffee grounds...

Posted by: jwild

Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/08/11 02:18 PM

I understand that coffee grounds are fully biodegradable, and that they will burn up completely in a hot fire, but I do not make a fire in the morning even if there is a fire pit available (I just want my coffee and to hit the trail!) I however have heard that coffee grounds can be detrimental to, as well as attract animals? Furthermore, I hear they are a good natural ant repellent. SO..throw em in the woods, pack em out, burn later that night?? whaddaya think? This all started when my friend threw some night time coffee grounds about 25 feet from our tent!
Posted by: phat

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/08/11 02:27 PM


While I don't think coffee will really count as "food" (it's just boiled up beans) it may attract animals, particularly those that may be partially habituated to humans and equate the smell with other food.

Me? pack 'em out.. unless you're where fires are appropriate in which case burn 'em.

Better yet go get some Starbucks VIA italian roast.. I don't bother with grounds anymore on the trail since discovering this stuff.. (and I normally grind fresh at home)

Posted by: Trailrunner

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/08/11 08:06 PM

Pack them out. Better yet don't bring them in. There are good alternatives.
Posted by: jwild

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/08/11 08:14 PM

I am kind of a coffee freak and have not found one of those "alternatives" acceptable. I will however try the Starbucks stuff as I hear good things about them from my non-backcountry friends. At this point, my plastic T-MOS coffee caddy and some fresh grind is one of my luxuries. Early morning fog on the water and a hot cup of fresh joe. Just thinking about it makes me wanna get out there!
Posted by: NYbackpacker

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/08/11 11:20 PM

Those starbucks instants are so darn expensive, i beleive iv seen them for 3 dollars for 3-4 packets. I have the nescafe roasters choice instant packets there around the same price as the starbucks but you get 22 packets!
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 11:53 AM

My goodness! I save my coffee grounds and put them in my garden. If you are in a remote off-trail area- disperse them on the ground. If in a more used area or a standard campsite, hide them in the bushes or burry them away from camp - dispose of them while on the trail. "Leave no Trace" does not mean that you do not use some judgement. I can see Phat's point, because my understanding is that in a lot of Canadian wilderness you are required to camp at designated campsites and there are grizzlies.
Posted by: lori

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 11:55 AM

Mt hagen instant - better cup of coffee, $12 per jar, 60 cups in a jar.

I finally found a jar in the grocery store in Yosemite. It's better than VIA.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 01:29 PM

Thank you W_D!

A couple tablespoons of coffee grounds scattered about are not going to leave any trace. They're literally pre-ground and moistened mulch with a few nutrients to boot. Even the CSI team would have a hard time finding them wink

Man, when you have bears wanting Starbucks things are getting way trendier out West than even when I lived there and in two weeks all the club hoppers went from Disco Studs to Urban Cowboys laugh
Posted by: oldranger

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 03:40 PM

I was just at Costco, where the price per cup for VIA calculates to $0.66583333333. Pretty decent coffee, almost as good as tea!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 04:50 PM

I thought the Nescafe' Columbian Medium singles, at around 19, were an excellent deal after comparing them head to head with VIA Columbian Medium.

I understand the desire for fresh grounds though, and if it's one of your luxury items, well, sometimes you just have it bring it.


Posted by: jwild

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/09/11 04:57 PM

Originally Posted By billstephenson

Man, when you have bears wanting Starbucks things are getting way trendier out West than even when I lived there and in two weeks all the club hoppers went from Disco Studs to Urban Cowboys laugh


lol grin grin
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: Leave No Trace and coffee grounds... - 05/15/11 12:56 PM

I spread the coffee grounds around outside camp in the bushes. They're about as natural as you can get after the coffee has been boiled out. Just pack out the filter paper, and if you shake the grounds off them and rinse they can be reused several times to brew more and they burn well when dry.

I had a bear one time grab my zip lock full of ground coffee, but he spat it out. Hard to imagine anything wanting to eat coffee grounds beside maybe an earthworm or a bacteria.

However with all fairness, I do not exactly believe in the value of the no trace ethic. I think many portions of the LNT concept are highly flawed and extremely "area of use" defined. In other words, on the appalation trail in crowded eastern states you would follow different guidelines than on the Pct say through Oregon. A nice premade campsite in Oregon would prevent a LOT of people from trying to scratch out a tent site, while covering up camp sites without tools is very difficult. Having to make a camp site then camoflaging it, every day, would be an unreasonable burden on a through hiker. I believe some "improvements" are improvements not detriments to the wilderness. A rock pile wind break on a summit will be used as shelter by perhaps hundreds of people.
Jim