How to Stain Your Wooden Furniture With Our Instant Coffee or Tea


how to stain wood with instant coffee
The Waka Life Blog

How to Stain Your Wooden Furniture With Our Instant Coffee or Tea

Looking to save time and money while being climate conscious on your next house project? Read on to see how coffee wood stains can help make that possible! 

Yes! Coffee is a wonderful natural alternative to store bought wood stains. Not to mention, coffee stains are better for your health and the environment, as they contain no volatile organic compounds (that have been linked to a number of short term health effects) or solvents, which have been linked to ozone layer depletion as well as long term and short term health issues.

Tea Stains vs. Coffee Stains

 How to Stain Unfinished Wood with Used Coffee

You guessed it; tea is another all natural, eco-friendly resource for wood staining. Black tea blends are the most commonly recommended for their richness in color. Unlike coffee, different types of tea will result in different colored stains. For example, a standard black tea powder or other black teas like earl grey or a royal english will leave dark gray and black impressions on wood. While, chai and thai teas will leave more red and orange accents. 

How To Do It Yourself

You can start by making ground or instant coffee (or tea) however you normally do. The amount will depend on how big the piece you’re looking to stain is. For instance, if you’re using instant coffee granules, some diy blogs suggest that ⅛ cup of water with ⅛ cup of coffee granules is enough for three coats of stain. The same rule applies if you’re planning on using tea. If the piece you’re going to stain is smaller, one cup with ⅛ of a teaspoon of instant tea powder should do the trick. But, if you’re looking to stain something of larger proportions, you’re better off making a pot of tea, using 3 teaspoons of instant tea powder. Once you’re done brewing your coffee or tea base, you can start coating your wood with your beverage base, to bring about a light and natural look.

How do you stain wood with coffee grounds?

If you’re looking to create a darker toned stain with a more rustic look, the trick is to create an iron acetate to add to your coffee or tea base in place of regular hot water. Using this solution will help to keep your stain from fading over time. 

Now, please don’t get scared by the sciency terms - an iron acetate is just an oxidizing solution which will help to bring out the texture of your wood and natural vibrance of your stain. All you have to do is mix vinegar and steel wool or rusty nails in a jar and leave them overnight with a loose sealed cap or aluminum foil over the top. If you choose to use the aluminum foil, make sure to poke some holes in the sheet so your solution gets a chance to mix with the oxygen around the jar. 

The next thing you’re going to want to do is sand down the wood. This step is crucial, if you’re dealing with wood that had a previous stain or paint on it. Make sure you clean off all the leftover dust from the sanding, so the new stain doesn’t cluster or get stuck on any particular part of the wood. Following this step, you’re free to start staining the wood. 

Stain Your Furniture with Waka Coffee:

Can you use tea or coffee to stain wood?

What You’ll Need:

Step One - Make an Iron Acetate Solution

Remember, don’t be afraid of the fancy science terms. All you need is a jar big enough to fit a steel wool pad or a handful of rusted nails, enough white vinegar to submerge the pad, and a cap or a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the top of the jar.

The lid will need to be screwed on loosely so oxygen can react with the solution. If you’re using aluminum foil to cover the opening of the jar, poke some holes in it, for adequate air flow to your solution. You’ll want to shake the jar a little before letting it sit, to allow the oxygen, metal, and vinegar to interact a bit. Now, you might start to notice a bit of rust forming on the tips of your steel wool pad after adding it to the vinegar. This is totally okay! All it means, is the metal and the vinegar are reacting accordingly with the oxygen in the jar. Once this is done, leave the solution to rest overnight to achieve the best results. 

Step Two - Sand Your Piece

For older pieces with prior paint or stain jobs, this step is critical. And even for pieces without any prior coloring, you’ll want your wood to be smooth and even, so you don’t have any difficulty blending the stain into any possible raised parts. After you’ve grated your piece down, wipe off any excess dust. 

Step Three - Add Your Coffee/Tea Base to Your Iron Acetate Solution

As stated, we recommend a minimum of ⅛ of a teaspoon of instant tea or 1 teaspoon of coffee for every cup of solution to a maximum of 3 full teaspoons for a pot’s worth of solution, to ensure a bold and lasting color. Mix the necessary amounts of tea powder or coffee granules to your solution to create your final homemade wood stain. Again, make sure to adjust the quantities based on the amount needed to be stained and the color you want to achieve.

Step Four - Start Coating

After mixing your tea powder or coffee granules to your solution, it’s time to start applying the stain to the wood. Note that you should allow each coat to sit for 20 minutes before applying a fresh one. You are free to use a number of tools to administer the individual coats, but we recommend using a foam sponge brush with a handle or a paintbrush. It’s also important to bear in mind that some wood types are more absorbent than others, which may have an effect on the color and concentration of the stain.

Step Five - Add a finish!

After the stain has completely dried, apply a simple finish to the piece to reinforce and preserve the color and durability of your wood stain. After the finish has soaked into the wood and dried, your piece will be complete and ready for display. 

Get our quality instant coffee here.

Waka Coffee & Tea