How can I reuse or recycle out-of-date instant coffee?

instant-coffeeWe’ve had an email from Allison:

We always have coffee in for visitors but rarely use more than a few spoonfuls of it before it goes out of date. Can I do anything it?

The only reuse I can think of off the top of my head is making ye olde stained paper when I was a kid – possibly not the most useful suggestion unless you really, really like making fake old maps ;)

A quick Google reveals some more useful things – they can be used as a scent in soapmaking, dying fabric or even to develop camera film.

Any other ideas?

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle out-of-date instant coffee?”


  1. Cipollina says:

    You can use it to dye fabric pretty shades of beige and light browns.

  2. Sharon says:

    You can use the out of date instant coffee to bake with…mocha brownies…mocha frosting. To avoid wasting instant in the future store it in the freezer. It’ll stay fresher and keep well past the “best before” date.

  3. Does it really matter about the “best before date”? If you think it tastes different then it is fair enough to think of alternatives but it can’t harm you.

  4. Alice says:

    Yeah, it is freeze-dried, so what’s going to go off?

    Get the smallest jars you can, split them with a neighbour so you only keep half a small jar, then keep that in the fridge so it stays fresh well past its “Best Before” date.

    “Best Before” doesn’t mean its undrinkable after that, anyway.

  5. Clare says:

    I wonder if it would work as a slug repellant? I put my coffee grounds on top of the soil in planters. Perhaps making up strong coffee, letting it cool and pouring it over the top would have a similar effect.

    But like everyone says: best before doesn’t mean undrinkable after that.

  6. Corey Burger says:

    If you can find somebody that does model railroading or something of the like, give it to them. It is useful for making dirt.

  7. David says:

    Compost it.
    Most vegetable-based materials can be added to your garden compost heap.
    If you are not already composting your kitchen food waste, start now!

  8. dumbo says:

    coffee is an effective deodorant. you can boil it and pour it down bathroom or sink drains that might have a bit of smell, or probably anything that you’d like to deodorize.

  9. Lizzy says:

    I’ve started making my own makeup. Yay! Foundation can be made from a mix of very finely ground chalk and ground up coffee (do it in a pestle and mortar – amounts depending on skin tone – cocoa can be used instead of chalk to make it darker) Then add some water and vegetable glycerin. It needs to be shaken up before use and more is needed than shop-bought foundations. It works really well – first time I wore it my friends asked where they could get some =D .
    Coffee gets a little too sticky to be used as eyeshadow, but it makes good fake tan – at the moment I just dissolve it in water and olive oil , shake it up, and rub it on – The recipe still needs perfecting.

    And I’ve just had an idea for brown/black mascara using old instant coffee – I’ll post it when I’ve tried it and worked out a recipe.

    • Shorty says:

      That’s super interesting, but can’t you substitute talcum powder for the chalk, add in a little bit of pink or orange chalk for a more natural color and omit the wet ingredients? Also for the fake tan, are you having problems keeping the oil and water together? A bit of hand soap would work I suppose.

      • Lizzy says:

        I’ve never tried with talcum powder – good idea , the only reason I’ve used chalk is because it’s natural and I can get it free when I go for walks across very chalky places . I’d feel safer not using the orange chalk as I don’t know what the colour is – one of the main reasons for making my own is to know what’s going on my skin. I’m sure there are plenty of orange/pink natural things that could be used- wine dregs perhaps?(other than that , it’s a fine idea) Using dry ingredients should be OK – just test it first because when some things come into contact with any moisture or oils in your skin they can clump and change colour – ground up coffee/chalk mixture goes sticky and dark if you’ve put it on dry. :)

      • Lizzy says:

        Probably should add – Using it as liquid is generally alot safer , as the particles are so small and so easily inhaled

  10. Here in Texas says:

    Talcum powder is linked to cancer. I wouldn’t advise it.

  11. Lizzy says:

    When added to homemade soaps , it works well as a deodorizing soap – washing your hands after doing something smelly etc…

  12. Hannah-Lou says:

    I sometimes use instant coffee to dye my hair. I have light brown hair and using coffee dye makes it a little darker.
    To make the dye I either:
    1. Make up a strong cup of coffee using a tablespoon of instant coffee and use it as a rinse after conditioning
    2. Mix a tablespoon of instant coffee with a little water (just so it dissolves) and mix it with my normal amount of conditioner (about 3-4 tablespoons) then leave it in my hair for 25 minutes.
    Doesnt work as efficently as shop-bought hair dye but i have seen a difference after 4 washes.



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