You could pour it down the drain or...

10 Things You Can Do With Leftover Coffee That Saves You Money

by Laura Foor

Do you buy your coffee from a grocery store or from a local coffee roaster? Buying already ground coffee from the store can save you money, but there's nothing quite like the taste of a cup of java using locally roasted coffee beans ground that very morning. Either way, you can expect to pay between $.25 and $.35 per cup of coffee when you make it yourself at home. If you happen to stop on your way to work to order your morning fix of caffeine, you can easily spend ten times as much, simply for the convenience.

Most people who make their coffee at home use a coffee maker that makes between ten to twelve cups of coffee. It's easier to make a full pot, and whatever isn't consumed tends to be poured down the drain. Since there's absolutely nothing wrong with this coffee, it can easily be used for other purposes, which could save you a lot of money over the long run.

Just to be sure we're on the same page, we're not including uses for leftover coffee grounds, although there are several fantastic uses for leftover coffee grounds. The following are best uses for using already brewed leftover coffee.

One of the great things about using leftover coffee is that it can be used to make both savory and dessert dishes, making it quite versatile for recipes.

Brownies - Who doesn't love a homemade brownie? Now you can make a mocha brownie by simply adding some leftover coffee to your favorite brownie recipe. Just substitute the leftover coffee for any liquids used.

Ice Cream - You can make your own homemade coffee flavored ice cream, or you can pour leftover cold coffee over a big bowl of store bought ice cream. Chocolate and vanilla works best, but any flavor will do!

Ice Cubes - Sounds so simple, right? It is! Simply pour your leftover coffee into ice cube trays for future use. Coffee ice cubes can be added to iced coffee, so it doesn't get diluted. Or they can be added to other drinks to give them some additional flavor, like a glass of milk or even a cocktail.

Related: Ways to Save on K-Cups

Specialty Drinks - Do you often stop by your local coffee shop to buy a specialty coffee drink? Although delicious, specialty drinks are expensive. Now you can make your own at home for pennies! Here's a recipe for a Mocha Frap. Put 2 cups of cold already brewed coffee (1/2 can be frozen coffee cubes for a slushy drink), 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon honey, a pinch of salt and 3 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder into a blender and blend well.

Adding Flavor - Whether you're looking to add more flavor or are wanting to change up some of your regular everyday meals, coffee can help. Leftover coffee can be added to your favorite gravy recipe or added into slow cooker recipes for extra richness. Or how about a piece of homemade chocolate cake with coffee flavored frosting? Or coffee pudding? Or coffee Jell-O? It's endless.

Your Garden - You can pour completely cooled leftover coffee over your tomatoes or any other plants that thrive on acidic soil every few weeks or so. You can also add it to your compost pile.

Cleaning - The acid found in coffee is a great cleaning agent, which makes it great for hard-to-clean surfaces, including grease. Use it to clean your dishes, grill, floors, and more. You can pour leftover coffee down your garbage disposal, which helps to eliminate bad odors.

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Repair Scratches - You know those minor scratches in your dark wood furniture you've been meaning to repair? All you have to do is simmer down the leftover coffee by about half or until it resembles the color of the furniture and then use a soft cloth to gently rub the reduced coffee over the scratches.

Hair Dye - Want to see what your hair would look like in a beautiful shade of brown without making a commitment? Use leftover coffee to make a temporary hair dye. All you have to do is take one cup of leftover coffee, mix with two cups of a leave in conditioner and leave it in your hair for about an hour. Then rinse.

Related: Save Money By Roasting Coffee at Home

Iced Coffee... NOT! - Although you may be tempted to use your leftover brewed coffee to make iced coffee, this is not the way true iced coffee is made. For true iced coffee, put about 3/4 of a cup of ground coffee beans into a one-quart glass container, add cold water, shake a few times, and then set in a cool place. Why this method? It removes any bitterness or acidity, which makes for a really smooth and delicious cup of iced coffee. In 16 to 20 hours, simply strain the coffee, which will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Reviewed April 2018

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Laura Foor is a freelance writer who specializes in writing quality articles for online publication for 6+ years. Graduating from UCB with a degree in Environmental Sciences in 2009, she also works part time as a Farmers Market manager where she focuses on healthy food education.

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