A jar of instant coffee is a pantry staple in many Australian households and while it’s perfect for a quick caffeine hit, it also has a whole host of other uses.
Consumer watchdog CHOICE recently revealed there are a number of surprising things that can be done with the product, including making a great DIY body scrub.
Other unexpected uses for instant coffee include amping up the flavour of bolognese sauce, creating a seasoning for steak and adding to baking.
So what are some of the best?
Coffee can be used in number of surprising ways including adding a flavour hit to bolognese sauce (stock image)
1. Boost flavour of bolognese
A 50g jar of Nescafe instant coffee is priced at $5 from Woolworth (pictured)
Bringing out the flavour of a bolognese sauce comes down to the right combination of herbs, mince and tinned tomatoes.
However, it’s been found adding a teaspoon of instant coffee to the sauce while it’s cooking can provide an unexpected flavour hit.
It’s understood the cooking trick was devised by the UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in 2015.
‘It really does work – the coffee adds a depth of flavour that cuts through the natural sweetness of the tomato-based ragu,’ a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said at the time.
2. Add to Chilli con Carne
A teaspoon of instant added to a pot of Chilli con Carne also provides a deep flavour hit like no other.
‘It works beautifully with the winning combo of spices, beef and beans, helping to tenderise the meat and add a deliciously deep, roasted flavour,’ advised CHOICE chefs.
For best results, use finely ground instant powder and add sugar and salt to balance it out.
3. DIY body scrub
If you are in need of an inexpensive but effective body scrub, consider a DIY version made using instant coffee.
Because coffee granules are coarse, these are ideal for exfoliation. Mix a few teaspoonfuls with sugar and coconut oil, or olive oil to create an at-home blend.
While it remains unproven, some have even gone as far as to say coffee scrubs can help reduce cellulite.
And there’s the added benefit of coffee being a known anti-oxidant.
Instant coffee can be used as a base for a DIY body scrub, one you can make from a mix of sugar and coconut oil (stock image)
4. Cookies with a twist
If you enjoy baking and love coffee, why not combine the two?
Adding a teaspoon of instant coffee to cookie dough creates an interesting flavour and there’s the benefit of a caffeine hit.
Here, it is better to use instant as it dissolves easily. Adding espresso can mean you end up with too much liquid in your baking.
5. Baking and buttercream icing
In the same way it can boost the flavour of cookie dough, a teaspoon of instant coffee can be added to baking and buttercream icing.
If your baking recipes call for coffee, using instant will ensure you don’t end up with excess liquid and you can always add more if you want to take the flavours further.
6. Best ever chocolate brownies
If you’re looking for a simple way to create ‘the best chocolate brownies ever’, all you need to is add a teaspoon of instant.
‘Dissolve into your wet brownie mixture, to create some mocha magic and take your addiction to dramatic new heights,’ said the cooking pros at CHOICE.
Adding instant coffee to meat rubs not only brings out the flavour but can help make meat tender (stock image)
7. Seasoning for meats
Instant coffee combined with smoked paprika, brown sugar and dried spices makes a delicious seasoning for meat.
As the coffee dissolves into the meat, it not only brings out the flavour, but also helps make it more tender.
‘When deciding how much coffee to add, start small with a ratio of one part coffee to two parts sugar and spices, then adjust to taste.’
CHOICE reminds home cooks the coffee flavour intensifies as the meat cooks so starting with smaller quantities is key.
8. Make your own coffee-flavoured ice cream
A simple way to add a grownup touch to a plain bowl of vanilla ice cream is to dust lightly with instant coffee.
If you’re looking for extra decadence, consider adding a swirl of chocolate sauce for a mocha effect.
For the perfect on-the-go smoothie, add a teaspoon of instant coffee to a banana, honey and milk smoothie (stock image)
9. Smoothies and milkshakes
Breakfast smoothies made from bananas, honey and milk can be given an extra boost with a teaspoon of instant coffee.
The trick is especially helpful if you’re running short of time in the morning and are in need of a caffeine hit.
10. Coffee crumble
A coffee crumble is the perfect addition to plain muffins, loaves, cakes, pastries and desserts – and it couldn’t be easier to make.
In a food processor, blitz 125g unsalted butter with one cup flour and half cup sugar, then add two tablespoons of instant coffee and blend until coarse and crumbly.
Spread on an oven tray and bake at 180℃ for 20-30 minutes. When cooked and cooled, break up to sprinkle over your treats.
Make sure to store in an airtight container.