Amp up your coffee routine with these clever tips

MANY of us depend on coffee as a morning energizer of a refreshing beverage to sip throughout the day.

MANY of us depend on coffee as a morning energizer of a refreshing beverage to sip throughout the day.

But coffee, and the grounds used to brew it, have many unexpected uses around the house and in your food. Also, before you pour your leftover Joe down the drain, or chuck your used grounds into the trash, take a look at the list below.

Zhu Jing / SHINE

Helper in the garden

Used coffee grounds are great for compost. Coffee grounds are close to pH neutral, and can add valuable nitrogen to your compost pile.

You can also dump used coffee grounds directly onto the soil as a fertilizer. These grounds will add organic material to the soil, improve drainage, water retention and aeration. Meanwhile, they can support microorganisms beneficial to plant growth and attract earthworms.

Leftover coffee works as a fertilizer too. But remember to dilute it with an equal amount of cool water. As coffee itself is acidic, you’d better pour coffee on acid-loving plants such as azaleas, cyclamen, gardenias, African violets, aloe, roses and hyacinths.

Zhu Jing / SHINE

Coffee air fresheners

This straightforward craft project can be used in many places, such as in living rooms, wardrobes, bathrooms and cars. Both coffee beans and grounds will work, though fresh coffee grounds are recommended.

Anyone can easily make their own fresheners. A fabric/mesh pouch, paper cup or sock will do. Decorate your own air freshener as you like. It can be a designer piece if you’re creative!

Used coffee grounds can absorb unpleasant smell in the fridge and freezer, too.

If you are too busy to make your own freshener, there are many available on the market. Tour your local coffee shops or home decor stores.

Tip: Go for dark roasted beans if you want a caramel, creamy and chocolaty scent. Go for lighter roasted beans if citrus/floral scents suit you better.

One last thing: Try cleaning your hands with coffee grounds after you chop garlics. It just works amazingly.

Creative with coffee filters

Coffee filters can be handy for more than just brewing coffee. They can be used as snack bowls during parties or get-togethers — just open them up and divide your snack tray into sections for different nibbles.

And if you can’t stand tiny loose leaves in your tea, coffee filters can help as an extra filter when brewed tea.

You can also use them as splatter shields. Just place them over a bowl in the microwave to prevent messes from popping food as it reheats. Ta-dah!

For your beloved pets

Here’s tip for cat owners: If you want your feline to stop using your garden as a restroom, mix used coffee grounds with chopped orange peels and sprinkle the mixture liberally around your garden or flowerbeds.

Those with dogs can rub used coffee grounds into their fur and rinse well after bathing them. This will help kill fleas and make your pet’s fur silky smooth.

Coffee as flavor enhancer

Coffee is a common ingredient in treats such as tiramisu. You can actually play around with most cake recipes by substituting water with coffee for a richer, bolder flavor. Give it a try the next time you make a chocolate cake.

If you have regular Sunday roasts, why not add a tablespoon of fresh coffee grounds to the meat marinade? It will help tenderizer the meat, giving it a mild smoky touch.

So what if you don’t have an oven, but still want mouth-watering snacks with a rich coffee flavor? In that case, have a try at this tested recipe below. It’s easy to make these coffee-infused energy bites which are perfect for work day snacking.

Zhu Jing / SHINE

Coffee energy bites

Rich coffee energy bites


1 cup dry whole grain oatmeal

1/2 cup ground flaxseed (or chopped walnuts)

1.5 tbsp fresh finely ground unused coffee beans

1/2 cup creamy almond butter (or peanut butter)

1/4 cup of honey (or water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 dried cranberries


1. Mix oatmeal, flaxseed and coffee grounds together well in a bowl.

2. Add almond butter, honey and vanilla extract into the bowl.

3. Combine the mixture and fold in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

4. Stir well.

5. Chill the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes.

6. Roll the chilled mixture into balls of the size you like.

7. Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tip: The finer you grind your coffee beans, the better texture it will be. Use darker chocolate to lower sweetness. Don’t ask me for a detailed nutrition chart for this energy bite as it won’t be low in calorie or fat for sure!

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