Although the US is often thought of as being the coffee capital of the world, we’re not doing so bad here in the UK. In fact, the British Coffee Association reports that together we consume more than 55 million cups of coffee each and every day! But coffee isn’t just for drinking. Believe it or not, there are lots of different ways you can use this drink, making it one of the most versatile beverages in the world!
Here are 10 ways to use coffee that you’ve never thought of…
If you’ve ever rubbed coffee grounds between your fingers, then you’ll know that they feel a little bit grainy, and a little bit ‘bitty’, which makes them excellent exfoliators! Shop-bought exfoliators can sometimes be quite harsh, especially for sensitive skin, but coffee grounds are typically much more gentle. Simply mix coffee grounds with a small amount of oil (melted coconut oil, olive oil, or your favorite mineral oil) and apply to the skin in circular motions before rinsing for the baby-smooth skin.
Homemade Pot Cleaner
If coffee grounds can be used to exfoliate the skin, then they can be used to exfoliate other things, too, like pots! If you use non-stick pots and pans, you may already know that it’s important not to use sharp or heavily abrasive cleaning tools on them as this can remove the coating. However, as coffee grounds are only very mildly abrasive, they tend to be much safer to use. Use your fingers and the coffee grounds in the same way that you’d use a scouring pad, easily lifting off any dirt, grime, and burnt-on foods.
Whether you love the taste of coffee or hate it, there’s one thing most of us can all agree on: the smell of coffee is to die for! The scent is on par with home-baked bread and freshly cut grass; warm, welcoming, and comforting, and it’s remarkably easy to fill your home with these beautiful aromas. Place a small tealight into a heatproof dish and surround the candle with coffee beans. It may not smell like much at first, but once you light the candle and the beans begin to warm up, the scent will be truly delicious.
During those early mornings when we’re desperate for a ‘Cup O’ Joe’, we may not pay too much attention to the appearance of coffee beans. However, if you take a moment to study their aesthetics, you’ll notice that there’s something quite captivating about them. As an alternative to filling your ornamental jars with marbles, pebbles, shells, or sand, fill them with coffee beans instead! It’s a quick and cost-effective way of creating new home decor that’s somewhat unusual and definitely eye-catching.
Coffee beans contain caffeine, which is why coffee is a great stimulant that helps us to get out of bed in the mornings. However, it doesn’t just stimulate the mind and the body; it can stimulate the hair, too! Research shows that caffeine can stimulate hair follicles, encouraging the growth of strong, thick, shiny, and healthy hair, and a topical application can work wonders. After shampooing and conditioning as normal, rinse your hair with a cooled mug of coffee, or if you’d rather, cooled green tea works as well.
Arts & Crafts
If you’ve got little ones at home, finding activities to keep them busy on a rainy day can be a bit of a challenge… but not anymore! Many of us will have used coffee in school to stain papers and make them look old, and we can do similar things at home, too. Coffee can be used to stain or dye materials to make them a beige or brown color, and coffee can also be used a natural, non-permanent paint. 28% of a roasted coffee bean is water soluble, which means any stains should be easy to remove from clothes!
Have you ever tucked into a piece of garlic bread with lunch before a big afternoon meeting? You’re not alone. Minty gum is the normal go-to solution for these situations, and it works well, but sometimes a piece of gum just can’t be found. In a breath emergency, a coffee bean can do the trick. Simply grab a bean from the bag and gently suck on it until your meeting (try not to bite it as coffee beans can sometimes taste a little bitter!). You may not feel fresh-as-a-daisy, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Believe it or not, coffee can actually be hugely educational for kids! Not only is this a chance for you to teach your kids about coffee plantations (and, if your kids are older, slavery), but it’s also a chance for you to show them how the beans grow! You’ll need a plant pot, some compost, a coffee bean, and a very warm and sunny window. Plant the bean in the same way as you’d plant a regular seed, give it a good watering, and wait. If you’re lucky, in 3 or 4 years you may just have a coffee cherry ready for picking!
Coffee has a bit of a bad reputation, but actually, it can be very beneficial to our health (yes, really!). The polyphenols in coffee boast powerful antioxidant properties, and the high caffeine content could even help to protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, and conditions affecting the nervous system. There are lots of ways that you can add coffee to a healthy breakfast smoothie, including adding cold brewed coffee, coffee ice cubes, or simply blitzing a coffee bean alongside your regular nuts and seeds.
If we’ve covered healthy recipes, then we should finish by covering unhealthy recipes, too! It’s only fair. Coffee is probably more versatile than you think; it makes a great rub for steaks that are ready to be put on the barbecue, and it’s the secret ingredient in many mouth-watering chocolate cakes, too. If you don’t enjoy the taste of coffee, don’t worry. Chocolate cakes that have a teaspoon of instant coffee added to them don’t taste like coffee. However, the coffee does help to bring out the richness of the cocoa.
By Rudy Caretti
He has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found GIMOKA Coffee UK with a group of friends, who share the same passion.