5 ways to use leftover coffee

french press coffee
CC BY 2.0 Don LaVange

Turn those cold dregs in the bottom of the coffee pot into something delicious.

How often have you made a big pot of coffee, optimistically thinking you’ll drink it all, but then forgetting about it after your first cup? Maybe it sits there until the next morning, when the thought of drinking day-old coffee is enough to make you want to go back to bed, so you dump it down the sink and start fresh.

Next time, don’t dump it! There are numerous ways to use old coffee so it doesn’t go to waste. Maybe you’ll find it so delicious that you’ll start making extra coffee on a regular basis, just to have this tasty addition on hand.

1. Make ice cream.

Homemade ice cream is divine and surprisingly easy to make with an ice cream maker. Add leftover coffee to a vanilla custard base for a decadent dessert. Check out this in-depth guideline to making dairy-based coffee ice creams of all types or this recipe for vegan cashew-based chocolate-coffee ice cream.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, visit Craigslist or another online swap site; they’re often available at reduced prices and definitely a fun kitchen tool to have, if you like cooking.

2. Get baking.

Many recipes for baked goods call for strong coffee to add a jolt of flavor and some dark color. Try making these Perfect Chocolate Coffee Scones or these Caffeinated Coffee Brownies. Learn how coffee can “enhance that rich chocolate flavor” in brownies, according to Bon Appétit. Add it to cheesecake or replace any liqueur with some strong espresso.

3. Use the freezer.

I found this cool recipe on Food52 for latte freezer pops and can't wait to try them when the weather warms up – homemade popsicles made from leftover coffee mixed with almond milk.

Alternatively, you can pour old coffee directly into an ice cube tray and freeze for future iced coffees. Best part about it? The melting cubes will not dilute your drink.

4. Cook with it.

Turn it into decadent, luscious coffee pudding, courtesy of Not Without Salt. Stir it into oatmeal (baked or boiled) or rice pudding. Make mocha syrup for weekend waffles or pancakes. Add it to stew or chili in the crockpot. Mark Bittman has a yummy recipe for vegan espresso black bean chili that has so much caffeine he recommends using decaf if you’re planning to go to bed early. Use it for a marinade, like this Coffee-Marinated Skirt Steak.

5. Reheat!

This is the simplest way to enjoy leftover coffee, although it might take some jazzing up to get over the fact that it’s not exactly fresh. Try blending with 1 cup with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of butter. (It’s called ‘bulletproof coffee’.) Pour into a mug, add some milk or almond milk if desired, and microwave until hot.

You can also transform it into African coffee, with the addition of spices, very similar to Indian chai.

Tags: Coffee | Drinks | Recipes

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