Coffee Ground Briquette Fire Starters

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Coffee Ground Briquettes Make Excellent Campfire Starters!

 Fire starter briquettes and logs are easy to make. Wax and starchy/cellulose biomass (such as sawdust) is the basic recipe. In this recipe, the molasses acts a binding agent with the coffee grounds as it keeps the melting wax from just flowing all over the fire pit. As molasses is mostly sugar, it will harden as the fire burns, allowing the briquette to burn longer.  

Things you will need:

Dry, used coffee grounds (must be totally dry)

Blocks of wax (paraffin) or old candle stubs


Cupcake Metal Baking Pan

Cupcake paper liners

Old wooden spoon

Step 1:

Using a microwave or double boiler pan on the stove, melt two blocks of paraffin wax. Pour the melted wax into a heat proof bowl and stir in ½ cup molasses. (You do not want to cook the molasses.)

Step 2:

Gently but quickly so the wax does not thicken, stir the wax and molasses mixture until well blended.  Start adding the very dry coffee grounds one scoop at a time. Stir until well blended. If the wax hisses and bubbles when you add the first scoop, it means you coffee grounds are still moist. You can dry coffee grounds on a cookie sheet in the oven at 250 degrees for 25 minutes.

Step 3:

Use up to 5-8 heaping serving spoonfuls of coffee grounds. Stir until the grounds well mixed, are dark and slightly glossy. The mixture should be grainy from the grounds, yet still be held together with the wax and the molasses.

Step 4:

Line a cupcake tin with the paper cupcake liners. Pour or spoon the mixture in to the cupcake liners. Fill the liners most of the way full. As the wax cools, press down on the wax to remove any air bubbles. By this time the wax should have cooled down a lot, but make sure you test it first. If it’s too hot to the touch, let it cool some more. Let the briquettes dry overnight or place in the freezer for about an hour.

 Store as you would candles. Keep them out of the sun and sealed in plastic baggies.

Step 5:

To start a fire with your coffee briquettes, place your briquette in the fire pit, build your wood teepee and light the cupcake paper. The molasses will burn like sugar and the wax and coffee grounds will scent the air. This is a great way to start a fire while camping; you get the smell of coffee while the fire to boil the water is still getting started!


  • Instead of a cupcake tin and paper liners, try using a paper egg carton or bathroom paper cups for a mold.
  • You can also ground up almond shells, walnut shells or coffee beans in an old blender or spice grinder to use in place of coffee grounds.
  • You may be able to get old grounds free from any local dinner. If they don’t have any sitting out (for compost), then just ask. They are more than happy to get rid of them.
  • 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. Visit a constructions site and ask if you can collect a huge bag of saw dust. 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.  
  • If you don’t have coffee grounds and molasses handy, try this method. Take a 5 oz paper cup; fill it with cotton balls and sawdust (or ground almond shells). Just make sure a puff of the cotton is sticking out the top to act as a wick. Then add molten wax to the cup. Put it under your logs and light! The cotton balls act as the binding agent, the sawdust acts as the fuel and the wax helps keep out the air so it all burns longer.

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