So I have an extremely talented chef-friend who is interested in alternative uses for coffee compost (chaff in particular) using it in a smoker. She also attempted steeping green coffee in oil and bringing it to a simmer periodically over a period of 4 days to extract some of those earthy, grassy notes that green coffee offers.
There is a start to this process, but my question (as a roaster) is have any of you experimented with by-products/food-purposed/economic/ecological/etc. etc uses for green coffee or chaff to utilize the product that I carry as well as use what I would otherwise throw away or dispose of.
I am extremely interested to hear of any crazy ideas anyone has had or experimented with.
An idea for chaff: If you can collect it and compress it together somehow, it might make a very efficient and clean-burning fuel source for a wood stove or grill. I don't know how much burnable material is lost during roasting, but I'm willing to bet there's plenty of energy left over.
I've never tried this, but I know farms that use the husk (hull) of coffee as a nearly smoke-free fuel source. Chaff shouldn't be too dissimilar.
We collect chaff and give it to local gardeners, who use it to either balance the composition of their compost or as a protective layer on the garden bed, and/or between rows. It forms a dense cover that abates weed growth and preserves moisture below. Don't over-use, though, as all parts of coffee are low-pH (acidic).
I like the idea of compressing chaff to use as a fuel source! Recycling your used coffee grounds, you can make fireplace logs: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-FireLog/
That firelog is an awesome idea! Love it. Thanks for your input, I'm going to have to hunt down some farmers and see if they can utilize my byproduct. I would rather do that then throw it out like I have been.