Leftover Coffee Ideas

Depending on your brewing method of choice, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with leftover coffee. But given coffee’s unique chemical properties, there’s no need to waste your “old” coffee—and there are no shortage of convenient options to repurpose it.

Iced Coffee Cubes

In a world that throws away nearly half of the food it produces, fresh brewed coffee can happily claim an easy second life as iced coffee cubes—creating cold iced coffee without watering down your drink. To spice things up, you can spike your iced coffee with some amaretto and Pernod (an anise-flavored liqueur), and you’ve got a slightly buzzy, biscotti-flavored iced coffee. Iced coffee is hotter than ever—nearly a third of U.S. drinkers of hot coffee beverages also drinks them iced, and that number jumps to over half of coffee consumers 18-24 years old.

Leftover Coffee: The New Dairy Substitute

It might sound surprising, but coffee can be substituted for milk in a number of meals and recipes. The easiest would be a bowl of oatmeal or other hot cereal that usually takes a small amount of milk; replace the dairy with a splash of refrigerated coffee from yesterday’s cup you didn’t finish, and give your breakfast a new flavor kick.

You can also substitute leftover coffee for some or all of the milk in recipes involving chocolate or sweets: brownies, hot cocoa, chocolate chip cookies, frosting and even chili (some recipes call for cocoa powder, so coffee pairs nicely)!

Around The House

Coffee—leftover or otherwise—has a great many uses in the home, some of which are highly unusual. How about repairing a scratch or crack in your furniture? Simmer the leftover coffee until it reduces to a thick paste (for wood with red tones, add a few drops of iodine), then rub the solution on the scratch or use a disposable plastic knife to fill the crack, removing any excess with a damp cloth. Let the solution dry completely, then buff it with furniture wax.

Greasy, charred grills love leftover coffee—the acid in the coffee cuts through the grease, making it more manageable, and (if you choose not to rinse) will impart some lovely coffee overtones to your next pork chop. Wait for a good surplus of leftover coffee for this chore, as the grills should soak for an hour; find a plastic bin wide enough to accommodate the grill, and fill with enough coffee to cover (a half-inch or so).

Along with your coffee grounds, you can use your leftover coffee as fertilizer for acid-loving plants like tomatoes, ferns, roses and aloe—just dilute it with an equal amount of water first, as no plant enjoys soil that is too acidic.