What Else Can Coffee Be Used For Beyond a Beverage?
Coffee: More Than a Beverage
Coffee. The energy, get out of bed, get things done, power forward go-to drink of millions and millions of people around the world. There is much to be said for that first sip of coffee in the morning, or evening if that should be the case for night workers. Many jest, but if coffee could be intravenously added to the blood stream, there are probably a good handful of people that would be willing to sign up as a test subject. Coffee has a unique taste all its own, and not everyone that drinks the brew sincerely enjoy the flavor. Some folks drink it because there seems to be no alternative to how quickly they can jump into projects or focus after drinking it. Coffee can be used and is used for more than just drinking though. From fertilizer to cooking, this bean is surprisingly versatile!
Cooking with Coffee
Cooking with coffee is probably the most obvious alternative use of coffee. As an ingredient in a rub on steaks or as an additive to desserts, the unique flavor of coffee helps to amplify other flavors. With steak, adding coffee to the rub brings out a smoky flavor otherwise missed. In most cases, when creating desserts, cooks use instant coffee. Sprinkle a small amount of instant powder over the frosting on a cake or add it to a glaze or filling for donuts. Some chefs at restaurants have added freshly brewed coffee to cake batter, giving it a nice kick in flavor and unexpected moistness (Brightside.me). Chili cook-offs have most likely had a contestant or two throw coffee in the mixture as well. Coffee adds a nice rich flavor by intensifying the savory tones in the mix. Though this next idea isn’t necessarily an alternative to drinking, it’s pretty ingenious. When ordering coffee beverages at cafés, one has the option of asking for it to be extra hot, or a bit cooler. When making coffee at home, that’s typically not an option with generic coffee makers. Therefore, what comes out of the pot may be hotter than desired. A great way to cool coffee down without watering it down is to freeze coffee into ice cubes and add it to the mug of coffee. Hungry? Coat coffee beans with chocolate and enjoy a nice crunchy snack and experience a slight boost of energy in the process!
Around the House with Coffee
Coffee is a useful tool in cleaning around the house. Use it to scrub the bottoms of pans that have grease build up and other stains. Don’t forget the grill. The grill tends to be one of those cooking appliances that is regularly neglected. If there’s quite a bit of food built up on the grill, use some leftover coffee grounds to scrub the food off. While the coffee is soaking up the grease, its abrasiveness is beneficial when scrubbing.
Sink drains have a nasty habit of getting clogged at the most inopportune times. A mixture of dish soap, coffee grounds and boiling water will help to wash away the built-up grease (huffpost.com). While cleaning the drain, go ahead and drop some used coffee grounds down the garbage disposal side of the sink with a bit of water while the blades are running. This will help to sharpen the blades in the garbage disposal.
Odor is another thing that coffee is top notch at battling. Put some coffee beans in the bottom of a candle holder, place a vanilla candle in the center of the beans and light. Enjoy a nice refreshing scent throughout the house. Another option for freshening up the house is to place coffee grounds in a breathable fabric, such as nylons and place them strategically around the room. When something has been left in the fridge a little too long and it makes its presence known by stinking the place up, place a cup of leftover coffee in the fridge. The coffee will absorb the odor, and all is good. Just make sure the offensive food has also been removed. Who hasn’t cooked an incredible meal and found that the smell of the garlic or onions is clinging to their hands? This sometimes-embarrassing odor can be battled by rubbing the telltale signs of a great meal out with coffee grounds. While some folks thoroughly enjoy the smells of onion and garlic, others don’t want to smell it all day long. Coffee is a fantastic alternative.
Coffee can be used to fix scratches and dents in wood. By making a paste of coffee and water, then rubbing it on the area on the wood that has the scratch or dint, the coffee will stain the wood and make it less noticeable. Apply the paste as often as needed once dry to get the desired color. When furniture becomes dull, consider using the cooled down grounds to shine up furniture by rubbing the wood with a cloth. Speaking of staining scratched wood, coffee can also be used to dye fabrics or creating the perfect tone of brown for water coloring.
Pests can come in multiple forms. Between feral cats, cockroaches, slugs even ants, coffee can easily deter these persistent unwelcome guests. Many humans enjoy the smell of coffee, but most insects run in the opposite direction. If feral cats are an issue, mix coffee grounds with some citrus peelings such as oranges, and leave the mixture around the areas the cat or cats have been leaving their mark. They do not like the smell and will find a new place to relax. Not only is this an easy remedy, it also does not harm the animal and keeps everyone safe (Thrillist.com). Fleas can be a terrible event for pets. Give the fury loved one a bath and then rub them down with some leftover brewed coffee. This also helps to eliminate that dreaded wet dog smell! Mosquito season can be a complete drag for many people. Rub some coffee on exposed skin before enjoying the great outdoors. It’ll look like a recent tumble in dirt was had, but mosquitos will look elsewhere for a juicy bite.
After rubbing coffee on all exposed skin to avoid becoming a snack for those insistent mosquitos, save some of the grounds to mix into garden soil. Include crushed egg shells and a couple orange peels to give the garden a level of protection from pests as well as fertilizing the soil for those plants that benefit from acidic soil. Plants that enjoy acidic soil are tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, just to name a few (healthway.com).
A couple times a year, law enforcement will reserve a day or two to collect unused medications. It never fails, that date is almost always at a time that something else is planned and the medicine continues to hang around the house. The experts educate everyone by telling them not to flush the medicine down the toilet, wash it down the sink or to simply throw it away in the trash. Medication can be safely destroyed by mixing them in a plastic bag with used coffee grounds and water. The coffee and water will break down the medication, allowing it to be safely disposed of.
Health and Coffee
One of the last areas of life that coffee can be used that most people probably don’t think of, is with the body. Coffee is abrasive and is a great exfoliator. Mix some fresh grounds with olive oil and scrub the areas of the body that need it most. Those that have brown hair and find it becoming dull might benefit from soaking their locks with recently brewed yet cooled coffee. Leave it in the hair about 20 minutes and rinse. Not only does this help bring the shine back, the caffeine in the coffee will stimulate hair growth. While at it, make a paste with the grounds and some baking soda. Apply this to face and let sit for 20 minutes and rinse. This might be a great time to have a self-care day and make a spa day out of it. The coffee will remove dead skin cells and provide an anti-wrinkle effect (Brightside.me).
Waste Not, Want Not
Coffee brings much joy to many people around the world. Not everyone sincerely enjoys the taste of coffee, but many can benefit from other uses of coffee. The smell of coffee is unique and much more attractive than the smell of spoiled food or a stale environment. Between coffee grounds and brewed coffee, a use can be found around the house, so no part is wasted. This makes a win-win situation for everyone!