How to Use Leftover Coffee


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Our household runs on coffee. Without a steaming cup of brew first thing in the morning, I and my wife are practically zombies! Yeah, we really love our coffee – so much so that we sometimes make too much coffee. Well, being a thrifty household, we hate seeing things go to waste. So we started looking for leftover coffee uses, as well as uses for leftover coffee grounds. That way, nothing ever comes to waste, even leftover coffee.

I’ll be sharing my favorite leftover coffee ideas, as well as some tips on what to do with leftover coffee grounds in this blog post. So, coffee lovers, rejoice!

Put the Coffee in the Fridge for Iced Coffee

This one is a no-brainer. Coffee is fantastic whether hot, cold, or iced. Put your leftover coffee in the fridge. The next time you have a hankering for caffeine, add some milk to the cold coffee (I add some non-sugar sweetener, too) and ice cubes, and you’re good to go!

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Add to Hot Chocolate for an Extra Kick

If you like hot chocolate as much as we do, adding a little leftover coffee is a great way to give the hot chocolate an added “kick.” It’s up to your own personal taste to determine the best hot chocolate-to-coffee ratio, but we like to start at 75% hot chocolate to 25% coffee. But side note: if you have a sensitive stomach, taste a small amount first and see how your body reacts.

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Add Coffee to Stews and Spaghetti Sauce

Bet you never thought of this! If you enjoy cooking stews or spaghetti, you can try adding a little bit of leftover coffee to your concoction. The coffee will add a smokey, toasty flavor to the food your cooking – and that’s the perfect complements the various flavors of stews and pasta sauces (spaghetti, bolognese, and puttanesca sauces being the top options).

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Create Coffee Jelly for Dessert

Coffee is great in the morning, and it also makes for some pretty yummy dessert. Remember the coffee you have stashed in the fridge? Add some jello and whipped cream to it to make a really delectable dessert!

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What to Do with Leftover Coffee and Grounds

Most of the ideas listed in this blog post involve fresh coffee. But the great thing about coffee is that even leftovers or coffee grounds have multiple uses – coffee really is one of the most versatile food groups (yeah, I consider coffee a food group!) that you can find all sorts of uses for it, from beginning to end. After brewing a steaming cup of brew, don’t throw away the grounds. Here are a few things you could do with them:

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Use Them as Fertilizer

Used coffee grounds make great fertilizer. So much so that one of the more popular coffee chains in my city gives away used coffee grounds for free. If you’re afraid that the coffee grounds will raise the acidity of the soil, don’t worry. The trick is to wash the used grounds first. That way you wash away all the harmful acidity and leave only the good, nutritious stuff for the plants. Used coffee grounds encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms, as well as attract earthworms.

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Use Them as Natural Scouring Materials

I guess it’s pretty obvious, but coffee grounds are naturally rough. This makes them great natural scrubbing and cleaning aids. Got a pot or pan with some stubborn grease or food particles? Use old coffee grounds with your usual dishwashing fluid! The coffee grounds will help scrub the mess away, as well as soak up any residual oils.

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Use Them as a Natural Exfoliating Product

You can use them to scrub pans, you can also use coffee grounds to scrub your hands or feet. Store-bought exfoliants contain man-made materials, but coffee grounds are a great, natural alternative. Plus, nobody would mind the slight scent of coffee on their hands, that’s for sure!

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Stain Paper Using Coffee Grounds for Crafts Projects

Coffee grounds and leftover coffee are also useful for arts and crafts projects. If you need a sheet of paper to look old and rustic, you can dampen the paper using coffee grounds. Just make sure not to overdo it, and make sure the paper is completely dry before drawing or writing on it. This is one of my favorite uses for leftover coffee!

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Use Coffee Grounds as Mulch

Coffee grounds work as fertilizer, and they also work as mulch. They’re a fantastic item to add to your mulching material. Adding used coffee grounds will make your mulch that more nutrient-packed.

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Use Coffee Grounds for Odor Neutralizing

This one works better for freshly-ground coffee. But if you don’t want to waste fresh coffee, you can try using coffee grounds instead. Coffee has natural odor-neutralizing qualities (plus, it smells pretty darn good, to boot!). You can try sprinkling coffee around any problem areas in your house – just make sure used coffee grounds are completely dry, so as not to mess up the area you’re sprinkling them in.

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Use Coffee Grounds as Cat Repellent

Now, I have mixed feelings about this since I’m a total cat lover. And I’m not sure about the effectivity of coffee grounds as a cat repellent since my two cats don’t have any problems with constant the scent of coffee around the house (maybe they just got used to it?). But other people swear that sprinkling coffee grounds on garbage bins will prevent cats from trying to break into them. Coffee grounds will also prevent cats from going where they’re not supposed to. But your mileage may vary, of course.

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Use Coffee Grounds as Natural Insect Repellent

Now, this I’m sure works. For some reason, bugs like mosquitoes and even ants hate coffee grounds. We recently had an ant problem in our microwave. Since I didn’t want to take the microwave apart just to address the infestation problem, I sprinkled coffee around the oven. Magically, the ants cleared the area within a few days!

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