Can I save this coffee?
February 18, 2016 10:42 PM   Subscribe

I cheaped out and got bad coffee beans. I'm a coffee snob - can I save this coffee?

I was feeling cheap and found these coffee beans that smelled really nice at the store for $4 - they were shade-grown, organic, dark-roasted...but turns out taste hollow, flat, are not rich in flavor and otherwise just suck.

Before I dump the beans, is there something I could add to them to make them taste richer and fuller? Cinnamon? Chicory? Vanilla? Could I brew them longer? Help!
posted by Toddles to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try cold-brewing?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:54 PM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

We usually dump stuff like that. It doesn't make anyone happy...
posted by Namlit at 10:58 PM on February 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

You could used them to make iced coffee, or better yet, coffee ice cream.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:39 PM on February 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Smell the beans. How do they smell?

If they smell like good coffee beans should smell, you could try for a richer brew + cream and sugar. Or a richer brew enjoyed any way you like. If they smell shite - toss them and think no more of your $4. It was a sacrifice to the coffee gods. All will be forgiven.
posted by jbenben at 12:00 AM on February 19, 2016

Cold brew, French press, or pour-over. If all else fails, take them to the office.
posted by Violet Hour at 12:48 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Brew it and freeze it into ice cubes for blended or iced coffee that won't be watered down. Possibly use it in coffee-based desserts or snacks. Decorate with the beans in fancy jar or bowl.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:54 AM on February 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

What method are you using with these beans?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:05 AM on February 19, 2016

Bourbon, heavy cream, and a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar.

Although that experience may not be up your alley. Alternatively, you could brew a strong pot, freeze it in a jar, and use it for occasions where you want a bit of coffee flavor (like a spoonful or two of the brewed coffee in chili or beef stew.) Or you could mix brewed coffee one to four with cheap but real balsamic vinegar and reduce it until you have a delicious balsamic syrup-y glaze to put on roasted brussel sprouts.

Coffee is great for compost, especially if you ground it up first, and even if you don't compost, it's good food for acid loving rhododendrons, azaleas, etc. I've found it does a decent job deterring slugs in hostas and clematis, especially mixed with eggshells. Clematis supposedly prefer an alkaline soil but I think they're less picky than advertised.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:34 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Split a vanilla bean and put it in with the beans and give it a shake every few days. In a few weeks you'll have vanilla flavored coffee.
posted by Caravantea at 2:36 AM on February 19, 2016

Sounds like they aren't fresh and I would toss them.
posted by mikek at 4:34 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use old beans (sometimes, but rarely, we buy too much) and bad beans (that bag of decaf someone once brought over?) to clean my grinder after I run the compressed sawdust grinder cleaning tablets through it.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 4:46 AM on February 19, 2016

Make coffee and freeze it and use it in chocolate cake!!! and Chocolate Icing! Much richer flavor.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:52 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd return those beans to the store, but I am exceptionally frugal.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:57 AM on February 19, 2016


This trick works for any suboptimal coffee, including otherwise good beans that got underextracted for whatever reason and a cup of diner coffee. Either put a pinch of salt in the grinder with the beans, or stir it into your cup. Start with a very tiny amount: like for one cup, one twist of a salt grinder if you use one, or the quantity of grains that cover your fingertip if you lick it and dip it into the salt.
posted by clavicle at 5:08 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

CInnamon in with the grounds = Mexican Coffee!
A Cardamon pod or two in the grinder = Turkishish Coffee!
Chicory in the grounds = Depression Coffee/Cafe Du Monde!
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:56 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

you could make a body scrub out of that, if you mix it with a bit of oil. (grind beans first obv)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:52 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

use them in an odd sock as deodorizer for shoes, cars, closets etc.
posted by genmonster at 7:06 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Or use them for cooking. For example, I like to add some ground coffee to my chili. Or brew beer with them. Or make chocolate.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:25 AM on February 19, 2016

I would cold brew it into a concentrate, using a toddy maker. Crappy, stale coffee tastes somewhat better under cold brew conditions.

Then, I would turn it into a coffee liqueur at the following ratios:

1p cold brew concentrate
1p simple syrup (which itself is 1p water, 1p brown sugar)
1p vodka

+1 cinnamon stick, 1 split vanilla bean

Let all that mingle in a growler or jar for a week or two at room temperature, give it a couple shakes each week. Make yourself some white russians.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:41 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I use my stale beans for vietnamese style coffee with condensed milk.
Make a strong coffee (vietnamese dripper, areopress, in my case i use a stovetop espresso maker) and add condensed milk to taste.
posted by captaincrouton at 1:02 PM on February 19, 2016

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