• Yield: Makes 4 serving

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking, 35 minutes total

I started thinking about about the waste from coffee because in a restaurant people drink a lot of coffee; you can end up throwing away a lot of coffee grounds. We decided to start cooking with used coffee grounds, and the dishes we came up with tasted just as good - with a rich dark coffee - as they would have using fresh coffee grounds. Just store the ground in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic container with enough space for air circulation.

Scraps, Wilts + Weeds Scraps, Wilts + Weed by Mads Refslund & Tama Matsuoka Wong


  • 2 sheets gelatin (I prefer leaf gelatin 200 Bloom), or 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

  • 3 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup used coffee grounds

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 pinches kosher salt

  • Crumbs from Coffee Grounds Biscotti, optional for serving

  • Apple Scrap Vinegar (recipe below), optional for serving


If using gelatin sheets, soften them in a small bowl of cold water for 1 minute; squeeze out excess water. If using powdered gelatin, combine with 1 cup warm water and stir until dissolved.

In a small pot, combine the cream, milk, coffee grounds, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently so the milk doesn’t scorch at the bottom. Gently stir in the sheet gelatin (make sure there is no water in it) or the powdered gelatin dissolved in the warm water. Once incorporated, remove from the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain.

Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly among 4 small serving bowls and refrigerate for 1 hour until set.

To serve, top each panna cotta with biscotti crumbs and a dash of apple scrap vinegar (optional).


Apple Scrap Vinegar

Makes 1 quart

Active time: 20 minutes

Total time: about 1 month


  • 6 (or more) apple cores and peels


Leave the cores and peels on a covered plate at room temperature for one day, until they start to turn brown. In a quart jar, combine the cores and peels with enough water to reach 2 inches from the top. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and store in a warm dark closet. (If you are going to be using more apples over the next week, continue to add peels and cores.) Check after a few days to see if the water is cloudy and a grayish scum has formed on top. This is part of the fermentation process. After a month you will have an excellent cider vinegar. If you like a sharper flavor, leave it for another two weeks. Strain and store in the refrigerator in a clear glass container.

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This is an excerpt from Scraps, Wilt + Weeds: Turning Wasted Food Into Plenty by Mads Refslund and Tama Matsuoka Wong. Copyright © 2017 by Mads Refslund and Tama Matsuoka Wong. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life & Style, New York, NY. All rights reserved.