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How to make a Coffee Fire Log

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In this instructable, I'll show you the basic recipe for making a Coffee Fire Log. The recipe could still use some tweaking, but it's a good start and a fun and easy project.
 
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Step 1: Gather ingredients

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From my searches on the web, there are three ingredients in a FireLog; coffee grounds, wax, and molasses.

I used a bread pan to combine all the ingredients and press the loaf.

I used candles, but you could use the blocks of wax they sell at craft stores (will try during next attempt).

Also, make sure the coffee grounds are completely dry. You can get the grounds free from any Starbucks. If they don't have any sitting out (for compost), then just ask. They are more than happy to get rid of them.

Step 2: Combine the ingedients

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I put two and a half candles and the molasses into the bread pan. I usually fill the bottom of the pan with a generous amount of molasses, but I ran low for this last batch.

Now we need to melt the wax. I put the pan in the oven (as pictured) at 260 degrees. I also put the coffee grounds, in a metal bowl, in with the pan to dry them more. It takes about 25 - 30 minutes for the wax to fully melt

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norml1 year ago
I found this alternative recipe in patent: A coffee ground-based fuel composition comprising of: (A) dried spent coffee grounds by 54% by weight; (B) vegetable shortening; by 23% by weight; (C) brown sugar by 20% by weight; and (D) corn syrup by 20%
foxtrickle (author)  norml1 year ago
Very cool, thanks for adding this. I'll have to try it out.
moon1616 years ago
I bet waste glycerine from biodiesel production could be used here as well.
i have found other instructions that call for vegetable oil instead of wax
I've wondered about other ...read the fireplace logs you purchase; my plan for after I make the coffee logs is to read ingredients on 6 different logs...there are logs on the market made from grounds as well as manure (yes! quit worrying about your Starbucks "fragrance"). Before I play around with other parafin substitutes will try to check with a chemist.(this will be most expensive ingredient and could possibly be diluted with mineral oil or ?)
ducksan6 years ago
Firelogs are easy to make. Wax and starchy/cellulosic biomass is the basic recipe. Most of the time, sawdust is used. You can probably obtain sawdust for free if you know someone who makes it - a school workshop, for example. I've done technical theater and collected a huge bag last time we cleaned out one of the saws.
Wood pellets can be ground up, coffee beans too, in an old blender to make a fine powder. Add as much of this to some melted wax as possible. You can even use food! Grind up old chips, pretzels, etc. The greasier the better. =P
Firestarters are easily made with surplus newsprint. Fold some up and dip it in melted wax, then submerge in water to cool the wax. Probably don't last too long, but easy to make.
Look for wax and other supplies at yard sales. People are always getting rid of candles cheaply.

I never got mine to burn with with colors. I added a bit of boric acid (green), but maybe I'll try copper compounds too.
~ducksan
we have a bumper crop of acorns this year and I'm betting they will burn as good as anything else......will experiment.
stasterisk6 years ago
Pour the liquid mixture into a paper mold, and leave it on as firestarter!
Ya think paper cupcake wrappers would work? Regular size or mini cupcake papers, depending on how big u want the fire? Would vanilla or chocolate coffee grounds work? You prolly need to save the candle wicks to use to start 'em...
I am making these today...lots of wax on hand (bees wax, floral wax. parafin for candles. plus candl ends) plus mollasses x 2 I don't like. a ton of starbucks grounds which I place in big containers on porch facing south to dry...purchased a deep fryer (LOW HEAT) to melt wax for 1.00 at yard sale and plan to form these in used milk and juice waxed containers...may stuff some paper towel roll tubes for smaller logs...while I'm making messes, may combine plaster of paris with coffee grounds, pour in larger waxed milk containers, set, and your children have a nice chunk of "marble" to carve easily with a plastic fast food knife. Look around your kitchen for molds and consider spraying with pam for easy release.
Great idea, maybe a paper egg carton! I'm going to try and make starters like this! Great idea!
jxs16412 years ago
Thanks for the molasses explanation, my wife and I were also curious as to what purpose it would serve. I'm thinking of trying a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water combined and boiled) in place of the molasses, since it too is mostly sugar and would be a less expensive alternative (also, you wouldn't have a sticky molasses bottle to deal with). :)
foxtrickle (author)  jxs16412 years ago
Good idea, let me know how it works!
iain0101006 years ago
Just don't use Starbucks grounds or your house will smell like sweat and cat piss.
You think they smell like cat piss too, eh? Good to know I'm not alone. Starbucks is the coffee of choice at work, and everytime we make it I start sniffing everyone's clothes to see who has a pissy cat. :P
Once I got into an elevator holding a cup of their coffee. The person in front of me turned around towards me with a disgusted look on her face and a crinkled nose. She left the elevator mumbling angrily. She thought I stank. I smelled my pits, yep, fresh and clean. I smelled my breath, yep, fresh and clean. Then I smelled the coffee, yep, cat piss. I drink Starbuck's when I want to be left alone.
I hate Starbucks coffee. The problems with Starbucks coffee pre-automatic espresso machines, was the fact they over-roast their beans literally burning them. Now, the coffee is even worse b/c not only do they over-roast their beans, hence burning them, the stores now have automatic espresso machines, which are no better than the ones you find in gas station stores. It's why I pressed DH to help me buy the Miss Silvia and Rocky Grinder set made by Rancillio. It's the residential version that is literally a cut-down version of the Rancillio Commercial espresso machines & burr grinders. I roast my own beans using a hot-air popcorn popper from Walgreens that cost only about $15; hwr, repeated use over time melts the top until it warps to the point where you have to replace the hot-air popper w/another one. I roast decaf beans b/c caffeine is a migraine trigger for me. I was using the pucks (espresso grinds form a puck like a hockey puck used in hockey games once you pop them into the puck bin) to mix in the soil of my Azalea bushes. Everyone in our neighborhood & those who come around esp at Christmas to see the lights & Halloween for Trick o' Treating always compliment my Azaleas but in the springtime when they bloom, there are cars lined up around the subdivision to see my azalea bushes. I've had hundreds of people ask me over the years how I keep the azaleas so beautiful; I've been told our yard is the most beautiful in the subdivision... I tell them that instead of using the store-bought Azalea food, I simply mix my spent espresso pucks by mixing the grinds into the soil to make the soil more acidic, which azaleas love!
chippy paise3 years ago
Awesome tip for azelea gardening, roast your own coffee beans in a popcorn popper! http://youtube.com/watch?v=D0Y5ojdVWxE I can hardly wait to fire up the popper and we hardly use it anymore anyways but I need to find some green coffee beans.
bofthem6 years ago
This would also be great in muffin tins to throw on a campfire for fragrance.
However, now that I think a bit, I wonder if these would impart their aroma on food in a grill?
I wouldn't see why it wouldn't mix with the food cooked in a grill or campfire. DH loves to grill so I bought a grill box and mesquite and other types of wood chips that go into the box that sits right on the grill when grilling foods. After adding the flavored wood chips to the grill box then grilling whatever we plan to eat, you can taste the mesquite and Jack Daniels flavor in our grilled foods. The Jack Daniels flavored wood chips are great for steaks. I'm primarily a vegetarian eating only seafood; hwr, a few times a year I do eat a steak but only ones that DH cooks on the grill. I don't care for restaurant steaks b/c his steaks beat out anything cooked in a restaurant but then again a close friend of his from college was a grill master extraordinaire and he taught DH how to grill steaks on a grill. There's an old saying here in the south that goes, "It tastes so good it'll make you want to smack your mama." LOL! It's not meant as a derogatory term. It's actually a compliment of the highest degree.
I cook all types of food over fire and am cautious to ensure that I do, or do not impart fire aromas on a food. Example - Shepards pie. I would not want a coffee aroma/flavor on food that does not already have a nutty flavor. Would ruin the vegetable flavor.
I bet it would. Especially with a food like campfire biscuits where it greedily absorbs the flavor of the smoke. I bet if you added coffee grounds to a smoker, they'd really shine as well.
You know, that is a great idea for this fall! Think I will make one and see if it imparts flavor.
(Mountain) Lions and ?Tigers? and (OH MY GOD!) Bears! Oh my!
paise4 years ago
I wouldn't see why it wouldn't mix with the food cooked in a grill or campfire. DH loves to grill so I bought a grill box and mesquite and other types of wood chips that go into the box that sits right on the grill when grilling foods. After adding the flavored wood chips to the grill box then grilling whatever we plan to eat, you can taste the mesquite and Jack Daniels flavor in our grilled foods. The Jack Daniels flavored wood chips are great for steaks. I'm primarily a vegetarian eating only seafood; hwr, a few times a year I do eat a steak but only ones that DH cooks on the grill. I don't care for restaurant steaks b/c his steaks beat out anything cooked in a restaurant but then again a close friend of his from college was a grill master extraordinaire and he taught DH how to grill steaks on a grill. There's an old saying here in the south that goes, "It tastes so good it'll make you want to smack your mama." LOL! It's not meant as a derogatory term. It's actually a compliment of the highest degree.
I don't know if this would work for this application, but a trick I use for releasing wax from mold is to just pop it in the freezer for 10-15 min.  Also great for getting leftover stubs from glass candle holders.
freejelly4 years ago
Warning: Keep these coffee logs away from your dogs and other pets. If eaten, they could die from caffeine overdose.


liza.lu4 years ago
What is the purpose of the molasses?  Would it matter if I omit it, or do you have a suggested alternative?  I would just rather make this out of all things that don't have another really practical use such as for eating. 

Also, I would definitely suggest using old burned down candle stubs instead of fresh new candles or even newly purchased blocks of wax.  That's just me though -- repurposer that I am.  :).
molasses acts a binding agent with coffee grounds to keep the melting wax from just flowing all over the fire pit. As molasses is mostly sugar, it will harden as the fire burns, allowing briquettes to burn longer
how much coffee do i need? in cups please.
khaotik5 years ago
Cool idea! I was searching for something to do with coffee grounds since my soil is already acidic in the garden and I don't want to use them there. I save wax from all the candles I have burnt, and I drink plenty of coffee. Cost is an issue, so I want to know if anyone has used something like corn syrup - generally cheaper than molasses. I would like to make some of these to burn outside in my campfire ring. Oh and I love the idea of adding chemical salts for cool flame colors! Thanks!
Tanya11115 years ago
I'm wondering how much molasses and how cost effective this is? I guess if you don't have wood available making your own is cost effective but otherwise, how does this compare to wood or how environmental is it if you are using paraffin type wax? Just thinking out loud but would like to know approx. how much molasses.
I use maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup? I'm still playing around with the ratios to get it to burn longer. Right now it only lasts about 45 minutes.
aww.....I thought this was going to show me how to make a program dealing with a boring and re-occurring Christmas tradition......
Mine left little to no mess. I messed with the recipe a bit and decided I would use this as an igniter more than a source of warmth. I just lit one that I didn't pack at all and it burned for about an hour strong and clean. I also added some lint from the dryer as a starter...it sticks to the gooey mess nicely when it is still warm, plus it is another glob of "stuff" that doesn't get thrown out now. Oh, and I used Starbucks grounds and my hose doesn't smell like cat urine ;-) D
matt damon6 years ago
Nice
calikoala6 years ago
what kind of mess does it leave after burning?
thats what I was thinking... Not every thing burns in a fire... Also what are you leaving in the liner? I know that cheap pellets for pellet stoves cause big problems. I think it had to do with the type of wax used. Does anyone know what kind of wax would be the safest to burn in a chimney? Also the duroflame style logs burn really hot and can cause fireboxes to crack if to much is put in at a time. I would not put a huge amount in at a time..
Bosch6 years ago
Pretty cool intructable. I know the store bought logs last 4 hours. Just guessing, how long did the featured log burn?
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