10 New Uses for Coffee!

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I’ll admit to a lifelong coffee addiction. I drink it strong, black, and unsweetened.

We buy ours from our local food co-op—fair-trade, organic French Roast—and grind it fresh for every pot.

I will say also that coffee contradicts many of my values. I stay far away from other addictive substances. I certainly don’t grow it myself and my consumption doesn’t support local agriculture.

And yet, drinking lots of coffee—as much as 3-5 or more cups per day—has been associated with numerous health benefits: a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke; less depression, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; Parkinson’s disease, some forms of breast cancer, and liver cancer.

But [sigh], it’s important to note that the medical research supporting these health benefits consists largely of “observational” studies, which can’t declare a definite cause-and-effect relationship between coffee drinking and lowered risk of these chronic diseases.

So, from a health perspective, good science says the jury’s still out on coffee drinking. But strong coffee and the spent grounds have a lot of other uses. 

10 New Uses for Coffee

  1. Cook with coffee. You can use some of that leftover morning coffee to add depth and complexity to almost any marinade, gravy, sauce, frosting, or as part of the liquid in a soup, stew, fruit smoothie, or dessert.

    Add a tablespoon or two of freshly ground coffee beans to a cake, cookie, or brownie batter (coffee has a special affinity for chocolate).

    Here are a few recipes to try:

    Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Sugar Cookies
    Slow Cooker Smoky Chili
    Mocha Truffle Loaf
    Coffee Mop Sauce for Ribs or Brisket
    Chicken With Coffee Mole
    Coffee-laced Breakfast Eggs

    Freeze leftover coffee for iced drinks or to thaw for cooking. Just pop into ice-cube trays and freeze. Then remove the cubes and store in a zippered plastic bag.

  2. Use coffee in the garden.
    Coffee grounds have some plant-supporting nutrients; research has found they offer some protection against several plant diseases. Add to your compost pile, stir them into topsoil, or sprinkle a light layer around plants. They may help repel slugs and domestic cats from digging in your garden.  Here’s advice from an expert.

    Evenly disperse small seeds such as carrots, lettuce, and various herbs by mixing a few dried coffee grounds with the seeds before planting.

  3. Exfoliate and tone skin with coffee. Simply rub a handful of spent coffee grounds over face and body. Add a bit of olive oil to the grounds for a smoother finish. You can add a handful of coffee grounds to improve the results from a facial scrub or hair conditioner.
  4. Give hair shine.  For an instant shine, rub coffee grounds through damp hair after shampooing, or add a few grounds to your hair conditioner, then rinse. The coffee grounds will darken light hair.
  5. Darken hair or cover gray temporarily. Dip freshly washed hair into a bowl of strong, dark coffee; squeeze out, use a cup to pour coffee through hair repeatedly. Pin it up under a large plastic bag for half an hour. Then rinse hair and dry as usual. For a more dramatic coloring, make a thick paste of instant coffee or finely ground beans with hot water and apply the paste to sections of hair. Pin up under a large plastic bag for half an hour, then rinse.
  6. Give fabrics an antique look. Here are instructions for “aging” white or off-white natural fabrics. The longer you leave the article in the dye bath, the deeper the shade will be, but coffee always gives a soft, tan shade, never a deep brown.
  7. Control wood-ash dust. Sprinkle the morning’s coffee grounds on ashes before scraping them from your stove or prepare to empty the ash pan.
  8. Deodorize closets, car interiors, fridge, and microwave. To remove stale or musty odors fill an empty butter tub with coffee grounds, punch holes in the cover and set the tub in your closet, car, or fridge. Alternatively, tie up a cup of spent or fresh coffee grounds in a pantyhose leg and hang on a hook in a closet or pantry.
  9. Hide scratches in dark wooden furniture. Use a Q-Tip dipped in strong black coffee to swab small scratches in dark-stained wood. For larger areas, make a paste of finely-ground fresh beans or instant coffee and a little hot brewed coffee, brush paste over area, let dry, brush off excess.
  10. Remove stubborn stains. Use a wet coffee filter and a few spent grounds to scrub the stains from ceramic coffee or tea cups. Sometimes a few coffee grounds and a stiff scrub brush will clean up burned-on food or grease from pots and pans.
~ By  Margaret Boyles

About This Blog

Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.


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This article is cool, and I

This article is cool, and I relate to it BIG-time now, especially. I have long loved the smell of coffee, and some coffee flavored/made items, such as the once in a while treat of coffee liqueur, perhaps coffee ice cream, chocolate covered beans...things like that. However, in the last couple of years now, I've started adding either ground (fresh or right from fresh bag) or whole bean to my fiber-rich, healthy breakfast mix. It's amazingly delicious, and while I like to drink a cup now and then, it's really something having a tablespoon or two in my breakfast, OR, by itself mixed with a little honey and/or stevia. Also, a great, crunchy mix with chocolate, or other chips as its own dessert treat. It can be easy to overdo caffeine, but yeah, I love coffee this way too. I just have to be careful of caffeine...like even a glass of wine for me (I do not drink rum or wine, or alcohol to get drunk at all, but love these), the caffeine can be unpredictable, and some days having that small amount more can really give me bad jitters. I think...THINK...it also may contribute to possibly more regular, and easier BMs in the day. Could be fiber-rich and healthy eating, mostly, though. And lots of water.

My Gramma told me to flush

My Gramma told me to flush coffee grounds through the kitchen drain to keep the drain clear of grease clogs. I've been doing so for nearly 30 yrs and have not had any clogs. She said the acid in the grounds eats the grease.

The link for coloring fabrics

The link for coloring fabrics with coffee is not working.

Thanks, Sandy. The page I

Thanks, Sandy. The page I originally referenced must have been removed, but I've added a new link that works.

Good luck!

I use it (dry fresh) in the

I use it (dry fresh) in the vacuum as it makes the room smell nice when I vacuum. I also sprinkle fresh dry coffee and baking soda on carpet for 30 mins. before vacuuming.

And so it goes with

And so it goes with coffee....

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