Coffee logs are a form of fuel for your traditional open fireplace or stove that can be used as a substitute or even replacement for firewood logs.
We’re coffee lovers and so we’ve been using coffee logs recently in our open fireplace, wood burning stove and multi fuel stove to see how they perform, and we’ve been quite impressed.
We’ve therefore put together this complete guide to coffee logs to help you understand everything you would want to know about coffee logs, and what our thoughts are about using them.
In this guide we’ve used the coffee logs shown below as a reference throughout.
What Are Coffee Logs?
Coffee logs are recycled coffee by-products used as a form of fuel in domestic burning.
Coffee logs can be bought from many local or national retailers. We bought our bag of coffee logs from one of our local hardware stores.
What Are Coffee Logs Used For?
Coffee logs are used as a form of solid fuel for burning in domestic open fireplaces or appliances such as wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves.
Coffee logs have been artificially dried so that they’re low enough in moisture content to burn effectively without any issues that can be commonplace when burning fuel that is too wet.
What Are Coffee Logs Made Of?
As the name suggests, coffee logs are made from coffee. Not fresh coffee beans themselves but rather recycled used ground coffee.
Bio-Bean, the manufacturer of the coffee logs we’ve most recently bought, explain that each coffee log is made from recycled coffee grounds from around 25 cups of coffee.
Are Coffee Logs Any Good?
Manufactures of coffee logs state that coffee logs can burn 20% hotter and longer compared to kiln dried firewood logs.
From our experience and testing compared to kiln dried logs, coffee logs mostly live up to what these statements.
We have a whole article explaining kiln dried firewood in more detail here, but in summary kiln dried logs are pieces of wood that have been artificially dried within a kiln so that they can be used effectively as firewood.
Kiln dried firewood can in many cases be much lower in moisture content compared to seasoned firewood, which we’ve found to be true. The logs from our latest bag of kiln dried firewood were so dry that our moisture meter couldn’t even provide a reading.
Our latest batch of coffee logs showed an average moisture level of around 10%, which can typically be somewhere in between seasoned and kiln dried firewood.
One of the downsides of kiln dried firewood is that it can sometimes be too dry to burn efficiently. With typically such a low moisture content a fire can burn through kiln dried logs very fast, albeit putting out a lot of heat, but too fast to be an efficient source of heat.
From our experience coffee logs tend to burn for a while longer compared to kiln dried logs, while still putting out about the same amount of heat.
Do Coffee Logs Smell Like Coffee?
Coffee logs do not smell like coffee; either out of the bag or when being burnt. Coffee logs can smell like firewood does when used on a fire.
In all honesty coffee logs don’t smell too great out of the bag. However, you can’t smell anything unless you’re right up close.
When we’re burning coffee logs we find that they smell very similar to how our seasoned or kiln dried logs smell when burnt.
Are Coffee Logs Environmentally Friendly?
Coffee log manufacturers state that burning coffee logs instead of other forms of fuel helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bio-Bean also states 80% less emissions are generated by burning these waste coffee by-products compared to if they were sent to landfill.
Furthermore, the packaging of Bio-Bean coffee logs is also fully recyclable, making coffee logs as environmentally friendly as possible.
Are Coffee Logs Smokeless?
Coffee logs are not a smokeless fuel.
From our experience of burning through a number of bags of coffee logs they can produce more smoke than burning either properly seasoned or kiln dried logs, but won’t produce as much smoke as burning wood that is too wet (over 20% moisture content).
However, the small amounts of smoke doesn’t detract from the experience.
If you live in a Smoke Control Area then you shouldn’t use coffee logs.
Although we’ve been using coffee logs in our DEFRA Approved stoves, we don’t live in Smoke Control Areas and so there’s no issue with burning coffee logs.
Are Coffee Logs Suitable For Open Fires?
Coffee logs should be suitable for use in traditional open fireplaces.
Although manufacturers state that they are ideal for burning in wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves, we’ve had no issues with burning them in our open fireplace.
Can You Burn Coffee Logs In A Wood Burning Stove?
A leading manufacturer of coffee logs, Bio-Bean, states that their coffee logs are perfect for use domestic multi fuel stoves and wood burning stoves.
We have both a wood stove and a multi fuel stove (see the main differences between them here) and find that they burn even better in our stoves than our open fireplace.
This is because coffee logs are typically quite dry and burn quite hot, and so we can use the vents on our stoves to control the air supply to the fire and help them to burn slower and more efficiently.
Coffee Logs vs Wood Logs
The main difference between coffee logs and wood logs are that coffee logs are made from recycled waste coffee grounds, while wood logs are either seasoned or kiln dried pieces of firewood.
- Made from recycled ground coffee waste.
- Stated to last longer and burn hotter compared to kiln dried firewood.
- Typically smaller in size compared to firewood logs.
- May crumble apart when burnt.
- Moisture level or around 10% (from testing).
- Classed as wood that is low enough in moisture content to burn efficiently.
- Can be seasoned firewood, which has been air dried outside naturally.
- Seasoned firewood can typically have a moisture content of around 15%-20%, or even as low as 10%. The humidity of the atmosphere will dictate how low the moisture content of seasoned wood can be.
- Can be kiln dried firewood, which has been artificially dried out in a kiln. Kiln dried firewood can reach lower moisture levels compared to seasoned firewood, and in some cases even down to a couple of %.
Coffee Logs Pros & Cons
|Coffee Logs Pros||Coffee Logs Cons|
|Potentially more heat||Typically more expensive|
|Potentially longer burning||Not smokeless|
|Can be more environmentally friendly||Can’t use in Smoke Control Areas|
|100% carbon neutral||No coffee smell|
|Less storage space required||Can be hard to catch|
|Minimal waste||Weak packaging|
How To Light Coffee Logs
Coffee logs should be used as how you would normally start a fire in your fireplace or stove using firewood logs, but replace the wood logs with the coffee logs.
To light coffee logs:
- Lay newspaper at the base of the stove or open fireplace grate.
- Add kindling on top of the newspaper, in a crisscross pattern to allow for airflow through the kindling.
- Add coffee logs on top of the kindling. Adjust the number added to suit the size of your fireplace or stove, but no more than 3 as per manufacturer guidelines.
- Light the newspaper at varies points.
Long matches help when lighting fires in your fireplace or stove as it can allow you to light more areas to help spread the fire more quickly.
For more information on how to light fires in open fireplaces, wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves see our dedicated guides below:
If you’re struggling to get a fire going when using coffee logs you can also trying using the top down method of starting a fire.
The top-down method reverses the order in which you stack the materials for added benefits. See our complete guide to starting a top-down fire for more information.
How Long Do Coffee Logs Burn For?
Manufacturers state that coffee logs can burn for 20% longer compared to kiln dried logs, and that when used in controlled appliances such as multi fuel stoves or wood stoves, they can last for approximately one hour.
From our experience of burning coffee logs in open fireplaces, multi fuel stoves and wood burning stoves, coffee logs tend to last longer than our kiln dried hardwood logs.
Coffee logs also noticeably burn longer in our stoves compared to our open fireplaces, most likely due to us being able to control the airflow into the stoves, which allows us to be able to control the rate at which the coffee logs burn more effectively.
A manufacturer of coffee logs, Bio-Bean, states that their products are ‘ideal for woodburners and multi fuel stoves’.
From using coffee logs over the last couple of months, we get more out of them when used in our stoves but they still work great in our open fires none the less.
How Much Do Coffee Logs Cost?
A bag of 16 coffee logs will typically cost under £10 ($13), but prices will vary between stores, and throughout different times of the year.
You can check the latest prices for coffee logs here.
Where Can I Buy Coffee Logs?
Coffee logs can usually be bought from a range of local stores or supermarkets, or you can buy them online here.
Can I Make My Own Coffee Logs?
We drink a lot of coffee and so we throw away plenty of waste ground coffee which could be used for other benefits such as use in our stoves and open fireplace as fuel.
So can you make coffee logs at home?
From our understanding coffee logs aren’t so easy to make at home. Coffee logs need to be dry enough to burn efficiently otherwise they’ll struggle to burn and can produce a lot more smoke if too wet.
We’ll stick to buying bags of coffee logs for now.
Coffee Logs – Summary
Coffee logs can be a great replacement for burning traditional firewood logs in your home.
Their environmentally friendly benefits help to justify the added cost over using firewood, and from our testing coffee logs to tend to put out more heat and last longer than kiln dried firewood.
You may be able to get more out of your coffee logs by burning them in stove appliances rather than in open fireplaces. With wood burning stoves and multi fuel stoves, you can control the airflow to the fire to help get the most amount of heat and longevity from coffee logs.
I find the smoke quite acrid and you have to be careful not to knock the partially burnt coffee log or they can break up and then burn extremely quickly.
I also find they produce a lot of ash – unlike logs – and the ash is more like coal ash than wood ash, so builds up.
That said, I do like them – but I mixed them with wood rather than as a sole fuel. Major DIY chains often have them on multi-buy specials.
The packaging also burns well, so can be used as part of kindling etc!