Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine that a long, long time ago, some random dude observed birds getting hyped up on the coffee berry (or however you believe coffee was discovered). Imagine people never accidentally dropped some fried coffee beans near a fire or imagine a large done didn’t slip and crush a pile of these roasted beans. Imagine if we didn’t have espresso or latte art or single origins. Now imagine if we didn’t have coffee as we know it but the plant still existed. What would it be used for if not to help us survive dull meetings or classes or give us something to do with our hands and the awkward pauses on a first Tinder date.
What on Earth can coffee be used for if not our energizing needs?
My first tip comes from personal experience. Mixing approximately equal parts coconut oil and coffee grinds and use as an exfoliant! I use it as a full body scrub in the shower. The only downside here is the oily residue in the tub. The caffeine supposedly helps draw out those nasty unwanted things in Your skin and it is the perfect texture to scrape away your dead skin cells. Plus the oil is a fantastic moisturizer!
We’ve covered here how coffee grounds can be great in your compost, especially when combined with your used coffee filters. The grounds are also great to add to fertilizer (unless you’re growing tomatoes) and have been known to deter pests like slugs, weeds, and cats! Coffee is also a great friend to earthworms!
One specific recommendation I read about for protecting your garden or lawn from neighboring cats is to combine used coffee grounds with orange peels. Apparently curious felines can’t stand the concoction!
If you love the smell of coffee you don’t have to have it brewing 24/7 to enjoy it. You can DIY your own coffee potpourri of sorts by pouring your fresh grinds into a stocking, tying it off at the end and hanging it in a strategic area of your room. It is recommended to double the stocking for best security! The stocking can also be placed in your refrigerator to help keep foul odors at bay.
You can also store coffee grounds in an open dish in a safe place or even unground coffee beans–which also make an interesting decorative choice, especially in a coffee shop or restaurant.
Whole green or roasted coffee beans can be placed in a glass to store pens, for example, to cushion them, prevent them from marking up the glass and give them a lovely display.
Whole roasted beans can and are also used as a nasal palate cleanser when sampling perfume aromas; reportedly they help the aromas remain fresh and strong so that you get the full effect of those perfume samples.
One of my favorite unorthodox ways to use coffee grounds is for cooking. I have a rub in my spice rack right now that’s a combination of coffee grounds, chili and cumin and tastes delightful in ground beef (for tacos) and on roasted cashews! Coffee rubs are especially good for steaks, especially when you let them marinate for a while before cooking.
One trick I learned in my time in theater is that brewed coffee (and black tea) are both great ways to give fabrics an aged look. It can also give a lovely, light stain on wood, especially if you soak the wood with the coffee grounds in the brewed coffee–money-saving DIY is totally on trend. Brewed coffee can also make a spur-of-the-moment or unique paint; brewing different strengths can give you the option of painting in shades of brown.
Used coffee grounds are also ideal for cleaning especially greasy and caked on pots and pans; you can leave the used coffee grounds into soak up the grease, and then the abrasive grounds help to scrub away the lingering residue.
Finally, and depending on who you are/who you’re meeting, a whole coffee bean (or a little bit of coffee in general) is a great substitute in a pinch for a breath freshener!
These are great ideas for when you are in a pinch for paint, or dish-scrubbing, facial exfoliant, or breath mints. They are also creative uses for the excess coffee lying around, whether you drink it or not, or a great way to put your used coffee grounds to continued use! Reduce, reuse, re-caffeinate!