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13 Great Things to Do With Leftover Coffee: Smart Ways to Reuse It


Coffee is expensive. Even when you cook it at home, brewing it daily certainly adds up after a while. This is especially true if you end up dumping part of the pot down the drain. You are shoving dollar bills down your disposal with every dumped cup!

Luckily, there are countless ways that you can reuse your leftover coffee, allowing you to get your money’s worth and not waste a single drop of your favorite drink. Everything from making brownies to degreasing your dishes can benefit from leftover coffee. There are certainly quite a few ways to use this leftover drink! Let’s check out a few of our favorites.

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Can you save leftover coffee?

Yes! You can save leftover coffee but don’t expect it to taste as good as it did when you first brewed it. Still, saving leftover coffee is a great way to maximize your dollar, so long as you don’t care about its robust flavor as much.

Image Credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay

How long is leftover coffee good for?

Once coffee is brewed, it is best to drink it right away. This is when it has the best flavor, but you certainly don’t have to get rid of it after the day is over. If you leave your coffee sitting at room temperature, you should use it within 12 hours, simply because you don’t want to risk contamination.

If you place the brewed coffee within a sealed container in the refrigerator, it can last for as many as four days. Mason jars, sealed Tupper Ware, and mugs with lids are some of the best storage containers for your leftover coffee.

Even though refrigerated coffee can be good for up to four days, the longer it sits, the lighter its flavor will be. If you want to use leftover coffee for eating or drinking purposes, it is definitely best to use it as quickly as possible. If you are using it for some other purpose, then the flavor won’t matter, and you can let the leftover coffee sit in the refrigerator for four days.divider 3

Top 13 Things to Do with Leftover Coffee

Without further ado: here are 13 things to do with leftover coffee.

1. Bake a Cake

One of the best flavors to pair with coffee is chocolate. That is why you should consider adding leftover coffee to your next chocolate cake or chocolate cupcakes. The coffee will enhance the chocolaty flavor, making it a chocolate lover’s dream. Don’t worry, adding coffee won’t make the cake taste like your breakfast pick me up, either.

There are many recipes that incorporate leftover coffee into chocolate cake. Here is our personal favorite. This recipe is even good for vegans! You can use this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes too. Simply adjust the baking time since cupcakes are smaller and don’t require as much time to cook thoroughly.

2. Water Plants

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Though you shouldn’t use coffee on your plants every single day, giving diluted leftover coffee on occasion to your plants is a great way to give them a more natural fertilizer. Coffee has a naturally high acidic nature, which makes it perfect for enhancing the soil.

For an even more effective method, compost with used coffee grounds and leftover coffee. This will nurture the soil to help plants grow. However, do not use too much coffee, or else the soil could become too acidic.

SEE ALSO: What Plants Like Coffee Grounds?

3. Rub on Ribeyes

Chances are, you don’t think that coffee and ribeyes would create the most wonderful taste ever. On the contrary, coffee is a great ingredient to add to ribeyes or any other meat. It enhances the flavor of the meat, all while tenderizing it.

You can try this Coffee Rubbed Ribeye recipe for your next grill out. This ribeye will taste fancy, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of expensive ingredients or time to prepare. Perfect!

4. Make a Hair Mask

For many of the same reasons that coffee is great for energizing your morning, it is also great for your hair. On the one hand, caffeine and antioxidants allow your hair to appear shinier and bouncier, all because they remove built-up products that have stuck to your scalp. At the same time, it can also promote hair growth and improve its texture.

There are a variety of hair masks you can use with coffee. Many of them involve other ingredients such as coconut oil, honey, or egg yolk. Find the best recipe for your hair needs and wash it out. If you want to stimulate hair growth, you can even add coffee powder to your shampoo.

5. Coffee Ice Cubes

frozen coffee ice cubes

Whenever you drink iced coffee, the ice slowly starts to melt, creating a watered-down flavor. Avoid this entirely by freezing your leftover coffee and using these coffee ice cubes in your next iced coffee drink. This enhances the coffee flavor while still ensuring the iced coffee is chilled.

Freezing coffee ice cubes is really simple. Let the leftover coffee temperature decrease to room temperature. Then, pour the leftover coffee into an ice cube tray. Freeze them as you would normal ice and pop them out when it’s time to make your iced coffee.

Coffee Ice Cubes
We’re going to show you how to make coffee ice cubes, which will cool your perfectly brewed coffee down without ruining the flavor. It's so easy and delicious, we guarantee you’ll never look back!
Try this delicious recipe!
coffee ice cubes in a glass

6. Use It as a Stain

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Image Credit: DWilliam, Pixabay

If you buy unfinished wood, you want to stain it to have a more attractive and classic finish. Unfortunately, many wood stains are incredibly expensive. Instead of shelling out a lot of money for expensive stain, use strong leftover coffee instead.

To use coffee as a stain, sand the wood before using a paintbrush or cloth to apply the coffee to the wood. For a darker color, add multiple coats of coffee, waiting about 15 minutes between each one. If you want a lighter stain, opt for more diluted coffee, and add very few coats.

7. Bake Brownies

brownies with coffee
Image Credit: Unsplash

Just like using coffee in a chocolate cake enhances the chocolate flavor, using leftover coffee in your brownies will make them much stronger. Replace the need for water or milk using your leftover coffee. The stronger the coffee is, the more it will enhance the chocolaty flavor.

This brownie recipe is delicious and safe for vegans. Add coffee to the brownie mixture as it is melted with chocolate, vegan butter, and sugar. The most important tip to perfecting this recipe is to ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn, or else the batter could turn grainy with the coffee.

8. Reheat It

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The least creative way to reuse leftover coffee is to reheat it and drink it at a later time. Reheated coffee will not have as good of a flavor, but it will help you maximize your dollar and still get your caffeine rush in the morning.

To reheat your coffee, make sure to store it in your refrigerator in a sealed container. Only take it out of the container right before you are ready to drink it. Either heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop. We recommend the microwave simply because it is faster.

9. Use It as a Degreaser

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Image Credit: jackmac34, Pixabay

The acid in the coffee is good for more than just plants. Acid is a really great cleaning agent. It is strong enough that it can even clean up greasy surfaces. The highly acidic leftover coffee from your morning brew is a great cleaning agent for this reason.

You can use your leftover coffee to clean the grill, floors, dishes, or anywhere else with many buildups. The appealing smell of coffee also makes it a great cleaning agent for your garbage disposal since it helps to eliminate odors. Just remember that coffee can stain. So, don’t use it as a cleaner on any surfaces that can be stained.

10. Make a Marinade

steak marinade-pixabay
Image Credit: felix_w, Pixabay

Believe it or not, but coffee can taste really good in savory food, as long as you use it correctly. You can easily make a delicious marinade using leftover coffee. Use this marinade on anything from tofu to steak to chicken!

You can easily make a coffee marinade by mixing leftover coffee with onions, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, or mustard. Apply the marinade to the meat before cooking it. The coffee will enhance the sweet flavors of the marinade, adding a richer flavor to the meat.

11. Repair Scratches in Wood

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Image Credit: Pexels

Since coffee stains wood, you can also use it to repair scratches. The scratches in your wood furniture are easy to repair, but they can be expensive. Opt for leftover coffee instead for a more affordable scratch cleaning option.

To use leftover coffee to repair scratches in your wood, dilute the coffee or add more coffee to match the color of the wood. Then, dab a soft cloth within the coffee and gently rub it over the scratched surface. This will allow the coffee to permeate the scratch and make it match in color again.

12. Dye Your Hair

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Image Credit: artursfoto, Pixabay

Have you wanted to dye your hair dark brown but were too afraid to commit to actual hair dye? Use coffee instead. Coffee will give your hair a darker color, but it will wash out much faster than actual hair dye.

To dye your hair with coffee, add 1 cup of leftover coffee to 2 cups of leave-in conditioner. Let the coffee mixture sit in your hair for an hour. Once the hour is up, rinse it out and style your hair as normal.

13. Use it in Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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Image Credit: kps7942, Pixabay

Finally, the last use of leftover coffee is in your slow cooker pot roast recipe. Everyone wants their pot roast to be incredibly flavorful and tender. Adding coffee to the recipe will help tenderize the meat and enhance the natural flavors, creating an incredibly robust and delicious home-cooked meal.

In this slow cooker pot roast recipe, you add all of the vegetables, meat, and other ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover the ingredients with coffee and vegetable broth for an incredibly tender and rich pot roast dinner.divider 4

What about iced coffee?

Technically, you can make iced coffee using your leftover coffee from the day before. However, it is generally recommended to make iced coffee fresh since leftover coffee will have a more mellow taste. In other words, the coffee simply won’t taste as good.

You can use your leftover coffee by turning it into ice cubes, as described above. This method will not negatively affect the overall taste of the coffee. In fact, it should enhance it because your iced coffee won’t be watered down as the regular ice cubes melt.

If you sincerely don’t care about taste that much, then you can use leftover coffee to make iced coffee. For anyone who cares about the way their coffee tastes, we recommend making a new batch of fresh iced coffee instead.divider 5


As you can see, there are a lot of uses for your leftover coffee than merely tossing it down the sink. You can use leftover coffee for cooking, baking, hair care, and more. In other words, you can use coffee just about everywhere in your home.

Just remember that leftover coffee only lasts for about four days when refrigerated. Don’t consume leftover coffee if it has been more than four days. If the coffee has been sitting out at room temperature, try to use it within 12 hours. Good luck!

See also:

Featured image credit: arifarca, Pixabay


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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