Have a caffeine addict in your house? Are you pouring leftover coffee into the sink every night? Coffee grounds getting you down? Here are some thrifty ways to repurpose your coffee habit. Try all 21, given that super caffeine-fueled energy you have.
My husband must have coffee to start his day, so our coffee maker brews 4 cups every morning. Depending on his schedule, he often doesn’t finish the pot; which leaves a cup or two to be thrown away.
Not in my household.
Instead of leaving the pot to boil dry or the coffee to condense, I just throw the whole pot in the fridge until we get home from work at night. I reuse the coffee based on how much we have left over.
1. A Lovely Coffee Drink just like in the restaurant. 1 cup or less coffee required. Heat the coffee in the microwave, throw in a packet of hot chocolate, add a dash of liqueur (Kahlua, Irish Creme or your pick), and whipped cream. It makes a wonderful dessert.
2. Mocha Brownies. 1 cup or less coffee required. Whip together a batch of low-sugar brownies and use the coffee instead of water or milk. It gives an intense mocha flavor that my husband loves.
3. Frozen Blended Ice Mocha or Frappucinos. One of my favorite indulgences. Both my husband and I used to spend quite a bit of money at Diedrich’s Coffee (a local coffee chain) until they went out of business. I dislike Starbucks and how sweet they make everything so I make my own blended mocha. We haven’t spent money on cappuccinos in years.
1 cup or less coffee required. Don’t worry about proportions. Just eyeball everything. I throw the coffee into the blender. If I have chocolate milk, I’ll throw in some. If not, I just add a packet of instant chocolate or chocolate syrup if we have it. Sometimes, when I don’t have any of these, I just microwave a few cooking chocolate squares and mix it with the coffee.
I do use regular milk to smooth the harsh flavor of the coffee. Dash in about 1/2 a cup. It’s okay if you use too much or too little. Blend the liquid first to even out the chocolate. Now throw in a handful of ice. Grind all the ice to bits first then add more ice cubes one at a time until it is close to the frozen consistency that you want.
Here’s the trick: if the mocha drink is not sweet enough, just add a non-sugar sweetener. I use Splenda for my husband. For my portion, I actually use a tablespoon or scoop of ice cream. It gives me more creaminess and the extra sweetness.
Top your frozen blended mocha with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and voila. The entire recipe takes about 5-8 minutes even with my 15 years old blender. If you have an old blender, add ice cubes a few at a time.
We actually have this for either dessert at night or save the coffee to make in the morning as a nice to-go treat.
4. Iced Coffee. I love the McDonald’s iced coffee and found it’s very easy to make my own. 1 cup or less coffee required. Pour in milk, your choice of coffee flavoring (I like hazelnut- you can also cheat and just use a dash of vanilla), and sweetener choice (we use Splenda). Mix it all up. Pour it into a big drink cup with ice and you’re done. This can be either a nighttime or daytime treat.
5. Indochine Iced Coffee. Real Vietnamese iced coffee actually uses french pressed espresso but you can simulate this by letting the leftover coffee boil down to a more concentrated liquid. Mix the coffee with milk for a ratio of 2:1 coffee to milk. Add in a teaspoon or less of condensed milk for flavor and sweetener. Add in ice and you should have a great cup of ice coffee that gives a great kick in the head.
6. Coffee Ice Cream. I have an ice cream maker and use the leftover coffee to flavor the ice cream when I’m in the mood to to go hard-core with my dessert. If the Iron Chefs can make crazy tasting ice cream, so can I.
7. Coffee Ice Cream Sundae Splurge. I like to mix my ice cream similar to the gourmet ice cream shops. I let the coffee boil down to a semi sludge (it sounds worse than it is – just a thick, thick coffee – don’t let it burn). I usually use vanilla ice cream and mix in crushed Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and toasted sliced almonds. I either add a smidgen of chocolate syrup to the coffee or use it straight. After the ingredients are mixed, I just pour a little of the coffee mixture on top. It’s heaven even without whipped cream.
8. A Marinade. I use it as a beef marinade. I’ll experiment by mixing coffee with chili powder, soy sauce, or whatever else I find that’s interesting. It’s been great for nights that we have grilled meat.
9. Flavoring for Any Baked Dessert. Just like the brownie idea, trade the water and milk for coffee in any baked dessert such chocolate cake, scones, and muffins.
10. Tiramisu. There are tons of tiramisu recipes out there. Here’s one for Raspberries and Coffee Tiramisu.
11. Water Your Acid-Craving Plants. I figured this trick out after my college roommate dumped all our leftover drinks in the plants because she was too lazy to walk to the kitchen. We quickly found out which plants can survive coffee, tea, Coke, Diet Coke, Shasta and alcohol–you’ll have to do your own experimentation. It can get expensive replacing less successful efforts, but I do remember that ficus are not partial to coffee.
12. Coffee Glazes – Mix with confectioner’s sugar for a nice glaze that is not too sweet.
13. Ice Cubes. I prefer to have my coffee drinks be diluted by regular ice but my husband likes his coffee pure. Just freeze some and use as ice cubes in your iced coffee.
14. Fabric Dye – I love the antique look and would dye my whites with either coffee or tea to get that gentle yellow.
15. Antiquing Paper – Dilute the coffee and just paint over a piece of paper with the coffee. Let it dry and now you have antique paper.
16. Scratch Remover. Use the coffee to dye scratches in your brown furniture.
17. Wood Stain. I actually use coffee to stain wood over a period of days because I could control the color intensity better than a commercial stain. It’s cheaper too. Just keep adding a layer a day until you like the color.
18. Mocha Frosting – Stir it in with any frosting you’re preparing. It tastes wonderful as a secret ingredient when making chocolate cake.
19. Mocha Chocolate Mousse. I make a quick fake mousse by dissolving agar and instant chocolate in hot coffee, creating my own mocha gelatin. Cool the mixture in the fridge then mix it with a tub of Cool Whip. I fill half a cup with the combo Cool Whip/mocha agar and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, simply put in a layer of berries (your choice) and then whip cream. It makes a great tasting, luxurious snack.
20. Mocha Chocolate Pudding. Simply add coffee as a flavoring to your favorite pudding mix.
DISCLAIMER: #1-20 are from personal experiences. #21 is a tip suggested (but never tried) by my husband.
21. Coffee Enema. Yes, coffee is used as a colon cleanser. Check out the Wiki link.
If you don’t have enough coffee left in one day to make something, just save it in a closed container and add in the following day’s leftover coffee. Coffee doesn’t go bad when it’s kept in the fridge. I know the recipes aren’t exact but neither are leftovers. Just feel free to experiment with proportion. The recipes mentioned above are very forgiving.
This is a simple way to add needed luxury to life without spending a lot of money.
In a future article, we’ll talk about the uses for coffee grounds.
Do you have any great tips about how to use leftover coffee?
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