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12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Coffee

12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Coffee

There are lots of ways to reuse coffee grounds, but what about uses for leftover coffee itself? That brown beverage is good for more than just your morning wake-up.

More coffee reuse ideas: How to Reuse Coffee Filters, 15 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

On average, Americans spend almost $1100 per year on coffee, and you know that we aren’t drinking every drop of it. How many mornings have you poured out a few cups or even most of a pot of coffee that you didn’t manage to drink before work? All of that wasted coffee adds up, but you don’t have to feel guilty. Instead of pouring that precious leftover coffee down the drain, you can use it in your cooking, around your house and in the garden. Check out these surprising ways to reuse that leftover coffee!

12 Uses for Leftover Coffee

Coffee Ice Cubes

Coffee ice cubes keep iced coffee cold without diluting it.

Cooking with Leftover Coffee

1. Make coffee ice cubes. Frozen leftover coffee cubes are great for iced coffee that won’t get diluted as the ice melts, or you can put the cubes in a glass of vegan milk for instant(ish) iced coffee.

2. Add it to your oatmeal. Thin your oatmeal with leftover coffee instead of milk. Yum! Pro tip: add some cinnamon and dried cherries or apricots.

3. Doctor up hot cocoa. Replace some or all of the liquid in your homemade cocoa with coffee.

4. Make brownies. Replace some of the milk in your next batch of brownies with coffee for mocha brownies.

5. Make iced coffee. This might seem obvious to some folks, but not everyone thinks about iced coffee as just hot coffee that’s gone cold. Store leftover coffee in a pitcher in the refrigerator for an iced coffee any time you want one. This is how we “made” our iced coffee at the coffee shop I worked at in high school and college.

6. Season your chili. A little bit of coffee adds a nice depth of flavor to a pot of chili.

7. Frosting. Instead of using milk to thin your frosting, use leftover coffee. It adds a little bit of color and flavor.

12 Surprising Uses for Leftover Coffee

Home and Garden uses for Leftover Coffee

8. Feed your plants. In moderation, you can use leftover coffee to water acid-loving plants like tomatoes. Just try not to do this too often, because even plants that like acidic soil don’t like it too acidic. See Buffalogal’s comment on this thread. She pours about half a pot of cold, leftover coffee on her lupines every couple of weeks.

9. Dye fabric. Coffee is great at staining fabric, so put that stain power to use! Soak fabric in leftover coffee for a lovely, earthy mocha color.

10. Create coffee-dyed paper. Give your next paper craft project a lovely aged look with coffee.

11. Clean the grill. The acid in coffee will cut through the cooked-on grease on your grill. This is best if you have a lot of leftover coffee, since you’re going to be soaking the grates.

12. Repair scratched furniture. Simmer some leftover coffee until it reduces by half, then rub that paste onto any scratches in your dark wood. Wipe away the excess with a damp cloth.

Have you found any interesting uses for leftover coffee? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
10:56AM PDT on Jul 11, 2014


10:24AM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

Will share this one!

10:33PM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

I wondered about using it to water my plants, which I do periodically. Good to know. I'll use it for my blueberry plants.

8:57PM PDT on May 14, 2014

cool thanks

2:24PM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

Great tips! Thanks!

8:21PM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Interesting ideas. Thanks.

4:12AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014


8:33PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Great ideas! I usually just throw it in the compost with the coffee grounds.

8:10PM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

I add to cake mixes instead of water.

10:10AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

Mostly I don't have leftover coffee, as I gulp it down pronto (lol). But mostly I just make iced coffee. Good suggestions. Thanks.

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