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20 Unusual Uses for Coffee
Topic Started: Dec 13 2011, 06:06 AM (600 Views)
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20 Unusual Uses for Coffee


By Stephanie Rogers

Can you imagine life without coffee? We'd all stumble around like drones for hours every morning, lost without our precious fix. We love coffee for its flavor, its aroma and of course its pick-me-up, but there are at least 20 more compelling reasons to stay stocked up. These tips will give you surprising and unusual uses for fresh coffee beans or grounds that have gone stale, the pounds of used grounds you toss out every week and the dregs at the bottom of your cup.

Kill fridge odor Wouldn't you rather smell coffee than two-week-old leftovers, half-rotten produce and spoiled milk? If your fridge is a nightmare of foul odors, place a bowl of fresh, unused coffee grounds inside and leave it for a day or two. The coffee will absorb the odors and you'll crave a cup whenever you open the door. This odor-killing trick works for practically anything else as well - just place the item in a sealed plastic bag along with an open can of coffee grounds and bye-bye stank.

Reduce cellulite Pricey cellulite creams almost always have one major ingredient in common: caffeine, which supposedly enhances fat metabolism, reducing the appearance of these fatty pockets under the skin. To make your own coffee cellulite treatment at home, mix warm used coffee grounds with coconut oil and rub it onto your skin in circular motions for a few minutes before rinsing.

Erase smells on your hands Garlic, salmon, cilantro - there are some things that smell delicious when cooking, but aren't so pleasant hours later when they linger on your hands. Get rid of them by rubbing a handful of used coffee grounds on your hands and rinsing with warm water.

Make rich compost There's a reason so many gardeners swear by adding used coffee grounds to compost. The grounds are rich in phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and copper, they release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade and they're a little bit acidic, which is great for certain soils. If you compost on a large scale, you can get used grounds for free at your local coffee hot spot or mom-and-pop cafe.

Get shiny hair Who doesn't want shiny, healthy-looking hair? Coffee is often recommended as a simple, natural treatment to make hair extra-glossy. Brew up an extra-strong pot, let it cool and apply it to your dry, clean hair. Leave it on for at least twenty minutes, then rinse. Keep it up once a week or so for best results

Natural dye The natural pigments in coffee make it a great natural dye for fabric, paper, Easter eggs - even your hair. Brush paper with strong brew and let it dry, or soak fabric items in hot coffee. The results won't be color-fast, and may bleed out onto other items, so it's best to use this on items that won't be washed very often if at all. Using coffee as a hair shine treatment, as previously mentioned, may temporarily lend a rich, dark tint to your hair.

Reduce fireplace mess Want to clean your fireplace without causing a dust storm? Wait until the embers are cool, sprinkle damp coffee grounds all over the ashes , let them sit for about 15 minutes and then scoop out the whole mess into a metal ash can. The coffee grounds cling to the ashes, so they don't spew dust nearly as much as they would otherwise.

Pin cushion filler Dried, used coffee grounds are the perfect filler for homemade pin cushions. Just wrap them in some scrap cloth, tie it off with a rubber band and place the cloth in an egg cup or other small container. The grounds will keep your pins from rusting, too.

Exfoliate skin The same properties that reportedly enable coffee to reduce the appearance of cellulite can smooth and tighten your skin, and the texture of ground coffee will buff away dead skin cells, too. Make your own coffee-based scrub by combining a tablespoon of coffee grounds with half a tablespoon of olive oil and, optionally, a drop of your favorite essential oil.

Repel ants Sprinkle dry, used coffee grounds in problem areas where you notice ants in your home or yard and they might just pick up and leave. To tackle huge ant mounds, pour an entire pot of brewed coffee right on the mound.

Fertilize plants Acid-loving plants will thank you for sprinkling your used coffee grounds around their roots. Azaleas, blueberry shrubs and rhododendrons are just a few of the plants that flourish when treated with coffee thanks to all those nutrients. You can also dilute the leftover coffee in your mug and pour it right into your potted plants (as long as you don't use cream and sugar, of course!)

Keep cats out of your garden To you, that little garden in your yard is a beautiful source of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, but to seemingly every cat in a five-mile radius, it's a giant, irresistible litter box. Just use the trick mentioned above, sprinkling used coffee grounds on the soil, and cats will want nothing to do with it.

Scrub all kinds of surfaces Mildly abrasive and acidic, coffee grounds are great for scrubbing surfaces like countertops, cooking ranges and refrigerators. Use them alone or mix them with a little dish soap.

Auto air freshener Next time you accidentally spill coffee grounds on the floor, don't just sweep them up and toss them in the trash. You can use them to make an all-natural DIY air freshener like this one at Instructables. Try to use an old ripped pair of pantyhose and spare string to make this an even more eco-friendly project.

Grow mushrooms Used coffee grounds are an ideal medium to grow many kinds of mushrooms, including oyster mushrooms. You can actually purchase mushroom-growing kits from a company called Back to the Roots which includes reclaimed coffee grounds, mushroom roots and a mini spray bottle. The kit can produce up to 1.5 pounds of oyster mushrooms within 10 days.

Repel fleas Rub used, damp coffee grounds through your pet's fur after bathing to repel fleas without questionable, likely-toxic chemical treatments. If nothing else, it will at least improve that post-bath wet-dog smell that gets all over your furniture.

Pretty vase fillers Stale or dirty coffee beans are still a thing of beauty. Use them as vase fillers, or in cups or jars full of pens and pencils. Not only are they pretty, they continue to smell good for quite a while, too.

Start vermicomposting Red wriggler worms, the sort used in vermicomposting systems, love coffee almost as much as we do. It's not really clear why, but if you want a thriving community of worms to devour all of your kitchen waste (and those nasty little things really are amazingly efficient), be sure to add used coffee grounds to their bedding on a regular basis.

Secret recipe ingredient Just a little hint of coffee can be the ingredient that becomes your undisclosed "magic touch" in foods like chili, ice cream and chocolate cake. Use a little bit as a marinade for steaks and not only will it make them unbelievably tender, it'll also provide a hint of deep, smoky flavor.

Touch up furniture scratches Scratches on wood furniture disappear almost instantly by simply rubbing in a little bit of instant coffee dampened into a paste with hot water. Repeat if necessary until the scratch matches the surrounding wood.
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7 Surprising Health Facts About Coffee







By Amanda Greene Kelly



Whether you like yours hot, iced, black or with sugar, one thing's for sure: Coffee serves up plenty of health benefits. Not only can a cup of Joe help ward off depression, but it has even been linked with a decreased rate of skin cancer and increased fertility. Read on to learn about the unexpected heath benefits of coffee, plus other brew-related facts.


1. It may help ward off depression.
Anyone who perks up after the first sip of morning coffee will tell you that it has mood-boosting effects. Now there's proof: A study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that women who regularly drink fully caffeinated coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers. The study, which followed a group of women for 10 years, found that as more coffee was consumed (up to six cups per day), the likelihood of depression decreased.


2. It may help promote a healthy weight.
Drinking an espresso or cappuccino after a meal is more than a relaxing habit. "When you drink coffee after a meal, it causes your body to more slowly process the meal you just ate," says Chris Kilham, medical researcher, founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc. and author of Psyche Delicacies. According to David Levitsky, PhD, professor of nutritional science at Cornell University, "Caffeine decreases the rate at which the stomach dumps its contents into the duodenum-a part of the small intestine where digestion takes place-and also increases metabolic rate." Keep in mind, though, that java isn't a miracle brew: Downing it after dinner won't make the pounds melt away; rather, sipping a cup post-meal could, in small part, help promote a healthy weight.


3. It may boost fertility in men.
"Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on sperm motility-the ability of sperm to move toward an egg-and could increase your chances of [getting pregnant]," says John Wilcox, MD, FACOG, managing partner and reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in California. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo found that sperm motility was markedly higher in coffee drinkers versus non coffee-drinkers. And it turns out that it doesn't matter whether you drink one or ten cups a day: The only detectable difference was found between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.


4. It can harbor bacteria.
When you think of the germiest places in your house, you probably picture the kitchen sink or garbage disposal. But your coffee machine's reservoir also tops the list. A study performed by NSF International, a not-for-profit health and safety organization, found that the coffee reservoirs they studied were "loaded with yeast and mold organisms," says Robert Donofrio, PhD, director of NSF International's microbiology labs. "Hardly any of the volunteers we spoke to cleaned or disinfected their reservoirs. The residual water in that area, plus the fact that it's a humid part of the machine, contributed to bacterial growth." To properly clean your coffee machine, follow the manufacturer's cleaning protocol. If nothing is specified, clean it once a month by adding three or four cups of undiluted vinegar to the reservoir, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes and then running the vinegar through the unit. Finish by adding fresh water to the reservoir and running the machine through two or three cycles to wash away vinegar residue.


5. It may reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Staying out of the sun and regularly applying a liberal amount of SPF should always be your number one line of defense against skin cancer. That said, a new study out of Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day had a 20% lower risk for basal cell carcinoma, and men had a 9% reduced risk. However, the research did not indicate that coffee consumption reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, making it all the more important to protect your skin when outdoors.


6. It's not truly addictive.
While many people claim that they can't make it through the day without a few cups of java, Liz Applegate, PhD, faculty member and director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis, explains that caffeine is not addictive. "Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and the World Health Organization states that it is wrong to compare caffeine intake to drug addiction, since people can reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet without the serious psychological or physical problems that result from a true addiction." However, serious coffee drinkers may experience symptoms such as fatigue and irritability if they reduce their intake. According to Dr. Applegate, people who consume 600 milligrams of caffeine (about six small cups of coffee) daily are most likely to experience these symptoms, but they will usually resolve themselves after a few days.


7. It doesn't necessarily cause stomach pain.
If you've ever blamed java for stomach discomfort, you might want to visit your doctor to see what else could be at the root of the problem. According to Lauren Gerson, MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine and gastroenterology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, "There is no evidence from reviewed studies that coffee causes ulcers or more pain in patients with documented ulcers." She also notes that there is no evidence that coffee could be the cause of stomach pain in patients with indigestion. However, there is one type of digestive issue that coffee can aggravate; Dr. Gerson explains that drinking coffee may worsen heartburn symptoms, since it stimulates the stomach to produce gastric acid.

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