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Coffee Isn't Only For Drinking - It's a Way of Life

Updated on April 21, 2013

The Origins of Coffee

There are lots of stories around about the origins of coffee and it isn’t clear which are true and which are not. One I particularly like is about an Ethiopian goatherd, who on noticing his goats capering around with great gusto after eating the berries of the coffee bush decided to try some himself. He felt so energised that he took the berries to a local monastery – Why? Anyhow, the monk wasn’t enamoured of them and threw them into the fire. The resulting aroma brought the other monks out of their quarters to investigate the tempting smell. They rescued the beans from the embers of the fire, ground them and added hot water. Et voila! Coffee as we know it was born.

Coffee Berries
Coffee Berries | Source

In 1675 King Charles II of England banned cafe’s or coffee houses as they were called then. He thought that they were meeting places where people conspired against him. That would have been a shame for Starbucks and Cafe Nero etc., if that law had stood the test of time.

Coffee is so much more than just a drink and has many uses which you may never have thought of.

Coffee Beans
Coffee Beans | Source

Medical & General Health Benefits

  • Coffee is full of anti-oxidants that protect your body’s cells from oxidation and help to prevent against premature aging, heart disease, reduced immunity and even cancer.
  • People suffering from diabetes will be interested to learn that coffee lowers blood sugar levels.
  • The caffeine contained in coffee is added to Migraine and Asthma preparations
  • Drinking black coffee can help with weight loss as coffee is a low calorie metabolism booster and diuretic.
  • Cellulite can be helped by massaging the skin with a mixture of used coffee grounds and coconut or avocado oil.
  • Heavy coffee consumption can protect against Parkinson’s disease *
  • Coffee drinking can improve your memory and help you to be more logical.
  • Make a paste of coffee powder with water and apply to cold sores to take the pain and swelling away.
  • Suck on a coffee bean to freshen breath

*It isn’t recommended to drink too much coffee as it can be harmful.


Beauty Uses

Used coffee grounds make an excellent exfoliant. Rub into your skin and rinse off. Sweet Almond oil can be added to make a gentler scrub.

Try this chocca mocha face mask for smooth skin. 1 tbsp Cocoa, 1 tbsp Coffee grounds, I tbsp Natural Yoghurt, 2 tsp Manuka Honey. For dry skin add ½ tsp Olive Oil. Mix together and apply to facial skin. Leave for 15 minutes and rinse off. Try not to eat as it smells yummier than it tastes.

Remove product build-up from your hair and restore your lustrous locks by rubbing coffee grounds into your hair before rinsing and shampooing in the normal way. Use with caution on blonde hair as it may darken the colour slightly.

Puffy Eyes and dark circles can be treated with caffeine containing creams and gels which are readily available commercial. Garnier make various under eye roll-ons some containing caffeine.

Marbled Eggs
Marbled Eggs

Arts and Crafts

Make up a strong cup of coffee and paint on to make paper look aged. The brew can be used for decorating Easter eggs and giving a marbled effect by hard boiling some eggs and then cracking the shells and boiling again for 30 minutes in the strong coffee.

Restore scratches in dark wood furniture by rubbing with a paste of instant coffee powder and water.

A strong brew of coffee can also be painted on natural wood as a stain.


Deodorise Smells

Remove the smell of onions, garlic, fish and other pungent foods by rubbing a generous amount of used coffee grounds into your hands and rinsing with hot water.

You can make a coffee air freshener by sewing coffee grounds into a muslin bag and hanging up. An essential oil can be added to the grounds – Sweet orange is nice.

Remove odours from food cupboards and fridges by leaving an open container of fresh ground coffee inside for a couple of days.

Ants | Source
Azalea | Source

In the Garden

Deter ants by leaving coffee grounds where they swarm. They don’t like the smell and it could keep them away.

Add coffee grounds to your compost heap to enrich the compost. Check out whether plants you intend to plant in this like acidic soil as coffee is slightly acidic. Azaleas love it!

You can grow mushrooms in used coffee grounds. You will need mushroom spores and a box. Look for instructions and growing kits here

Keep visiting cats away by sprinkling coffee grounds where they scratch.

Coffee grounds
Coffee grounds | Source


  • Because coffee grounds are mildly abrasive they can be used for cleaning soiled pots and pans.
  • Use coffee grounds to scrub worktops and cooker hobs before using anti bacterial spray.
  • Keep drains from smelling bad by pouring a small cup of used coffee grounds down the plughole followed by a kettleful of boiling water. Be careful not to block the drain.


And for a Treat

Coffee Liqueur

  • 1 pint water
  • 2oz Instant coffee granules
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Essence or extract
  • 6oz golden granulated sugar
  • Bottle 75cl of Rum

Heat water, sugar and coffee until boiling. Cool for at least 45 minutes then add rum and vanilla essence. Pour into dark glass bottle, seal and store for at least 2 weeks.

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved


Do You use Coffee for Anything Other than Drinking?

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    • othellos profile image

      Mario Psomas 3 years ago from Europe

      Even though I know a lot about coffee, here I found a few details that I missed out. Nice article:=)

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Glad to be of help Peg

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I had no idea of the origins of coffee until I read your informative article and you've certainly given me a bunch of new uses for those old coffee grounds. I usually just add them to my compost pile. Now I want another cuppa.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks for that tip for asthma. Appreciated.

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice hub! Coffee is great. When I start to get an asthma episode, I aspire hot coffee vapors for a couple minutes. It always works.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thank you I enjooyed writing it.

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 4 years ago from Connnecticut

      Very interesting!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks xstatic for the UP. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Outstanding info here. I love coffee. We grind and brew it a lot. I am glad to know that there are so many other uses for it. Up!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Haha! Enjoy your coffee. But don't throw the grounds away ;)

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Kaffeeschnueffler profile image

      Jack 4 years ago from Zuerich, Switzerland

      Well, got some insights and now I NEED a coffee :-))

      Please go ahead with your good writing :-))

      And: Thank you so much!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Glad you like the recipe Rebecca. Thank you for your comment. It's good to know people are reading

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Yay! Good ol' coffee. I like your recipe for the mocha mask. It is good to know all the facts about coffee and caffeine. I was listening to a talk radio show recently. Someone who worked for an airline was telling about how all coffee served on a plain was decafe. Shame on them!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      The best of luck with your Azealeas. If they really flourish you could do a hub about them.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thank you Steve. Surprising isn't it? I thought you would have been very knowledgeable about coffee given your username.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great hub about the uses of coffee. I knew that coffee grounds were good for some plants. Thanks for letting me know that azaleas is one of the plants. It always feels like a waste to throw away the grounds every day. Now they will go in the azaleas. voted up.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Sue, I like your tips section. I never knew you could do so much with coffee grounds.

      Sharing this and voting up.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks Nell. It's amazing isn't it? But as our economy worsens we are all going to have to explore these ways of utilising different things I think. Thanks again

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Who would have guessed that coffee could be so versatile? I could definitely have used it for the painting this week, get rid of smells! lol! great info, and really interesting reading, nell