Nine uses for leftover coffee

If there is one everyday task I can’t seem to get right, it’s figuring out how much coffee to brew in the morning. Regardless of how much I adjust my quantities, I either end up with too little or far too much. Having too little coffee is not really that big of a deal, after all, I can always just brew some more. However, for a waste-averse person like myself having too much often results in about a cup of perfectly good coffee being binned.

After pouring the umpteenth cup of unwanted coffee down the drain, I decided enough was enough. I set out to see if there were any ways to make use of excess coffee. Here’s what I found:



Iced coffee 

Possibly the simplest way to use up some leftover coffee is to put it in the fridge and turn it into iced coffee. It won’t be as strong or flavorful as true iced coffee, but it is close enough. Brewed coffee can keep for about one week when refrigerated, and keeping your leftovers means that you’ll always have some refreshing iced coffee when needed.

Ice cubes 


Alternatively, pour the remaining coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze it. The ice cubes can then be added to iced coffee. This will keep the coffee cool without diluting the flavor.

Make Irish coffee 


There’s no reason to brew up a fresh batch of joe when making Irish coffee, just use your leftovers. Heat up 6 oz of coffee in a microwave or on the stove top. Pour the coffee into a heat resistant glass and add 2 teaspoons of sugar and a tot of whiskey. Finally, top with a little-whipped cream. Cheers!

Cooking, baking, and everything in-between




Brewed coffee is an excellent addition to sauces and marinades. BBQ marinades in particular benefit from the bitter, toasted qualities of good quality coffee.


Leftover-coffee-chili.jpgSimilarly, a little bit of coffee can add a wonderful depth of flavor to hearty chilis and stews.

Brownies and cakes 


If you want to add a subtle coffee kick to your favorite chocolate cake or brownie recipes, try substituting a small amount of milk with coffee. There’s no right amount in this case, but try increasing the coffee quantities until you find a flavor that most appeals to you.

Garden and home


Water your plants 


Of course using coffee grounds to fertilize the garden is nothing new, but what about watering your plants with coffee? Certain flowers and plants, such as roses, violets, and orchids, benefit from acid-rich soil. Diluting coffee with some water and giving it to plants can help them to grow better and stronger. If you start to notice yellowing leaves, switch back to regular water.

Staining wood 


Coffee is an excellent wood stainer and can be used as an alternative to commercial offerings. Try adding a single coat of dark coffee to wood. If you require a darker stain, simply add more coats.

Clean your grill 


As I recently discovered, cleaning burnt on grease from a grill is an absolute nightmare. Instead of rubbing away for hours with a brush, try soaking your grill grates in some coffee for about an hour. The acid in the coffee will break down the grease, making it easier to clean.


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