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.

 Related: How to Reuse Coffee Filters

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.

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.

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!

841 comments

Laura K
Laura K13 hours ago

We dye the paper with coffee to make vintage notes and certificates. I wad it up to crinkle it and age it first. I add a tsp. of white vinegar to neutralize the acid in the coffee to make archival/acid free paper. You can tear the edges of the paper carefully by hand in strips to add interesting age and character too.

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Julie B
Julie B17 days ago

This is very interesting. As Iam making veggie chilli nxt shall add some coffee as said. I shall also add to cocoa and a sprinkling of cinnamon :)

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William C
William C18 days ago

Thanks.

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Mike H
Mike H20 days ago

Thank you

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Richard A
Richard A21 days ago

Thank you for this article and interesting tips. (no left over coffee, or grounds here, either)

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Renata B
Renata B21 days ago

Interesting uses, thanks. I knew to use the used-ground coffee for plants but not the coffee itself.

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Elizabeth M
Elizabeth -23 days ago

Cheers. :)

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Jim Ven
Jim V23 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S23 days ago

thanks for sharing.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D24 days ago

This self-proclaimed coffee addict says thank you for the interesting article. I knew about a lot of the tips above but did learn some new things. Always make extra coffee for later on iced coffee and it is awesome for frosting. Never thought of adding to oatmeal and never thought of coffee dyed paper. Can't wait to give these a try. Have a happy, coffee caffinated day!! :)

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