So full disclosure, we managed to score a couple of bags of this product for free and we said we’d write up our experience of using them. We’re not getting paid for this, but we did get free warmth!
I’m pretty lucky in my day job. I get to meet some fascinating people from the world of startups.
Bio-Bean is no exception. I was at an evening event recently and managed to get the conversation around to one of my favourite subjects – pizza ovens. Specifically my pizza oven. I should really print off a little booklet of pictures because I invariably spend awkward minutes trying to find pictures of the the pizza oven build on my phone, before giving up and realising that the person I was speaking to has wandered off.
Go out, come home with logs
At this event I got chatting to someone who works for Bio-Bean. Their premise is brilliant. How can we use the enormous amount of used coffee ground produced by this country every day to create clean, carbon neutral energy?
The answer? Burn it.
It turns out that coffee grounds burn pretty well – somewhat hotter than many types of wood. Not only that but, because you’re basically burning something that would otherwise go to landfill, it’s a little less bad for the environment. Basically it’s both a renewable energy and a net reduction in landfill waste – double win!
My original idea was to use the Bio-Bean logs in my pizza oven, but as I was meant to be cooking pizza for a bunch of four year olds (for my son’s birthday), I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be experimenting with new fuels. Plus, in retrospect since the pizzas are cooked on the same surface as where the fire is lit, maybe burnt coffee grounds would be a poor choice.
Anyway, this week the nights started getting cold and I’ve not had time to sort out our firewood for the stove in our lounge. Time to crack out the coffee logs.
When you open the bag they smell of coffee, fact. However once they’re lit they burn hot and largely without odour.
The most surprising thing for me was how long the little logs burned for. We will normally get through half a basket of wood in an evening. The BioBean logs – which are about the size of a can of beer – burnt slowly enough that we only needed five of them to keep the lounge warm until bed time.
Now we normally buy our wood in bulk – enough to see us through the winter – however occasionally we do buy kiln dried logs which are not cheap. Bio-Bean logs cost around £8 a bag (from Ocado). By my reckoning that about three or four nights of fuel from one bag of used coffee. This probably works out about the same as logs from your local garden centre, but I would say these definitely burn hotter.
Plus you’re saving the planet from coffee drinking London hipsters. And that’s got to be good news.