Growing up on a farm, one learns to always keep a pot of fresh brewed coffee on hand for field hands, neighbors, and drop in visitors. Old habits die hard with me, and even after all these years, I still continue to brew a full a pot of coffee every morning. Most of the time, that coffee is gone by the end of the morning. For the days there’s leftovers, I pour the coffee into an ice cube tray, freeze it into cubes, and then save the cubes for another use. With fresh coffee beans costing me $8.99 a pound, I’m not about to throw that good coffee down the drain.
What can you do with old coffee?
If you are one of these types that can’t stand piping hot cups of coffee or hot cocoa, cool down that morning cuppa with an ice cube. By the time the ice cube has melted, your beverage will be the right temperature for drinking.
Cooling off coffee isn’t the only use for those coffee cubes. To make an iced Starbucks latte knockoff, drop half a dozen frozen coffee cubes in the blender, along with 1/2 cup milk, sugar and vanilla. Blend the mixture for about a minute until light and frothy. For diabetics or those watching their weight, substitute skim milk and Sweet n Low for a drink that’s simply scrumptious.
The coffee cubes can be thawed and added to chocolate cake and frosting recipes in lieu of water, for a rich coffee mocha twist. We’ve also included coffee in chocolate cookie recipes, brownies, fudge, and handmade chocolates. Coffee is especially delicious when added to mocha muffins recipes.
Cool off a White Russian with frozen coffee cubes instead of ice. Not only does it taste great, but it looks fabulous too! Those coffee cubes can be used in other Kahlua or Coffee liqueur based cocktails as well.
Coffee is a fabulous dye and turns white cottons and linens into shades of ecru. Coloring Easter Eggs? Dip them in a mixture of coffee & vinegar for a rich cappuccino colored tint. Coffee can also be used to create sheets of faux parchment by dipping plain paper into a bowl of coffee, until it has reached the desired shade.
Fabric and papers aren’t the only things that can be dyed with coffee. Coffee can also be used to dye your hair. This only works for brunettes and redheads, and does take about 8 cups of either espresso or another dark roast. To dye your hair with coffee, wash the hair as usual, and then apply the coffee directly to the hair. Letting the coffee soak in for 20 minutes, adding more if needed. Rinse, then towel dry. Don’t use instant coffee as apparently these contain additives that may damage your hair.
With all that coffee, there’s bound to be lots and lots of coffee grounds! These can be safely added to your compost or just sprinkled around the flower beds. Grounds are also effective in ridding your yard of ants, scouring those cast iron pans, and using as a facial scrub. My favorite all time use for coffee grounds is turning it into a sculpting compound. This wacky clay is made from a mixture of 2 cups grounds, 2 cups corn meal, and 1/2 cup salt to which some warm water has been added. Add the water in increments until it forms a soft dough which can then be molded and sculpted just like modeling clay. Yes, it’s weird but boy, do the kids like it.
Baking mocha treats and creating coffee tinted crafts, shaking up cocktails, and dying ones hair are just a few of the way to use up that leftover pot of coffee. With all those wonderful uses, you’ll never be throwing out that old leftover coffee again.