We baristas, we normally make/brew coffee as our first task all day long. After every brew, we take out the exhausted coffee and we make sure to clean/empty everything ready to brew again. That’s what every one of us does to deliver the best service possible at each customer.
What we don’t focus though, is the leftover coffee, the exhausted coffee that we throw away every single time.
A large amount of this latter goes into the bin instead of making a positive impact on the environment.
If you didn’t know already, the leftover coffee can be re-used for several things. If store it in a coffee shop is not always simple, it is when at home.
When home, you normally brew a filter coffee with your favourite brewer. You need something that picks you up no matter the brew. Whether you’re making a V60, Chemex or Aeropress, you are lazy, you make a mess in your kitchen and you end up wasting your leftover coffee by throwing it on the bin.
Just don’t throw away any leftover coffee after reading this article or you may reconsider it.
So, let’s see how we can avoid this with some of the most interesting things that we can make when re-using the leftover coffee.
9 LEFTOVER COFFEE IDEAS
- Ice coffee cubes: especially during the hottest month of the year, you ideally want to drink something that quenches thirst. Take your moulds and pour your leftover coffee in. After a few hours take out some ice cubes and use them in any brewed coffee to cool it without watering it down or just add some milk for a freshly made milkshake. Add other ingredients as desired such as banana or strawberries to a more flavoured recipe. Alternatively, for the laziest people, just simply store your leftover coffee into the fridge and open it any time of the day;
- Cakes: with your leftover coffee you can experiment with different cakes recipes using coffee as the main ingredient or a good complement. That’s the case of any classic coffee cakes, tiramisu (who doesn’t know and love it?) brownies and also homemade oat biscuits. You will need ideally any good coffee so use a speciality one and you will never regret the result.
- Ice cream: if you normally make ice cream at home with your ice cream maker consider to add a good leftover coffee over it. Also, coffee matches perfectly with yoghurt, chocolate and oatmeal.
- Natural repellent: grounds of exhausted coffee work as a natural pest control. Simply put into the areas where you see some ants, bugs or beetles and you will probably sort it out in a few days. Leftover coffee is also used to keep any animal at bay such as snails and cats. Lastly, it seems that fleas don’t like coffee and so it can be a good option for your pets too.
- Fertilize and compost: leftover coffee grounds work well in your garden. While attracting worms, it’s truly useful to make a compost which can then boost your plants giving them all the necessary nutrients (remember that farmers do the same on their farm). Coffee is rich in potassium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous (to name a few), hence why it’s largely used. For its acidic nature, they are also good for many soils to prevent erosions. Lastly, in case you are not going to finish your beverage, leftover coffee can be also poured to water your plants.
- Coffee exfoliator: coffee works well with your skin and hairs too thanks to its texture and its acidic nature. It helps removes your dirty and dead skin by simply scrub into your face and body and it also stimulates hair growth. Make one scrub is easy, you just need some oil, some sugar and of course, some leftover coffee grounds.
- Clean up: your Moka pot and all your kitchen equipment can be cleaned up by simply soaked some grounds of coffee with hot water. After a while, you can scrub and rinse. Grounds of coffee works as well to clean the pipe reducing drain odours and built-up grease: you just need to add some boiling water and some dish soap.
- Repair furniture: especially with the wooden ones, take some leftover coffee grounds and mix it with water to make a paste. Then rub it on the scratches of the furniture and let it sit a bit before wiping it. Repeat until your eyes are satisfied by the result.
- Homemade candles: leftover coffee grounds can be used also to make coffee candles. As time goes by the coffee grounds are releasing their aroma just by the heat of
LAST LEFTOVER THOUGHTS
To make a positive environmental impact we should focus more on every single detail, even if it’s just brewing a coffee every morning.
So please, make correct recipes; as most of us are baristas, we know the importance of not wasting any grams of coffee, we know how to brew coffee by using the correct ratio between coffee and water so we should avoid wasting coffee.
Wasting coffee is not that cool as what’s behind the coffee takes a long journey that starts from the farm. Please be the change, be aware of what’s behind a cup of coffee as we are more and more aware of the challenges that the coffee industry is facing.
And last but not least, never reheat your cup of coffee! When brewed properly, a freshly ground coffee has a distinctive aroma, a great balance between acidity and sweetness and a good body.
This happens just one brew at a time. It’s not that reheated coffee is bad for your health, but it doesn’t make any sense to reheat coffee, changing the chemical makeup of the coffee, increasing bitterness and lacking flavours as a great number of flavour compounds are volatile which means they leave your cup quickly.
Just think that half of the compounds are already gone when a dose of coffee’s being left for just 10 minutes before brewed.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.