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Brilliant Ways to Use Your Recycled Coffee Grounds to Make Everything More Awesome

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    The Wonderful Powers of Coffee

    The health benefits of coffee have been a topic of discussion in research studies and around cafe tables for some time. It's been linked to a reduced risk of melanoma, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer's. Coffee has also been said to boost your antioxidant levels and improve your eye health, liver health, and even your workout. But there are more ways to enjoy the benefits of java than just your 4 p.m. pick me up. Here, we share six creative ways to use coffee.

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    Make the Best Burger EVER

    You would never guess, but that mouthwatering restaurant burger may have a secret ingredient that makes it so irresistible. You can't actually taste it, but adding coffee grounds to the burger can actually intensify other flavors. "I use coffee in all sorts of things," says Tom Douglas, a Seattle-based chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. "It adds an umami quality." Try adding a small amount of finely ground instant coffee (about one packet for every 1 lb. of ground beef) to your next burger recipe, and you won't believe the difference. If you're cooking for friends and family, wait until they've taken a bite to tell them how you became such a burger master. (Check out more ways to Build a Better Burger.)

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    Enrich Your Garden

    Add some used coffee grounds to your garden soil or potting mix. According to Washington State University's Puyallup Research and Extension Center, it acts as a natural fertilizer by adding nitrogen and acidity to soil and may even help keep pests away. Make sure the used grounds are thoroughly dried (spreading them on a baking sheet and laying out in the sun will work) before repurposing them. When the grounds are dried and cooled, add a small amount to your soil. To ensure a healthy pH balance, the soil mixture should contain no more than 10-20 percent coffee grounds.

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    Scrub Years Away

    Ground coffee can work to remove layers of dead skin and promote collagen production. Mix finely ground coffee beans with a bit of coconut oil for an au naturale DIY scrub. 

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    Absorb Odors

    Have you ever wondered why perfume counters often have small containers of coffee beans sitting around? A quick whiff of coffee cleanses to reset your sense of smell, so you can more accurately sniff each perfume. And coffee can work this way to neutralize scents anywhere. Ditch the baking soda in the fridge and opt for an open container of beans or grounds instead, or place coffee beans in your car or mud room to freshen up without getting knocked over with a powerful scent of a candle.

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    Magnify Chocolate's Flavor

    Adding a touch of instant grounds to chocolatey desserts can do wonders. "You won't be able to tell it's in the dish, but you'll wonder why it has such nice depth of flavor," says Douglas. Substitute about 1 cup of water for 1 cup of brewed coffee or add 1 tablespoon of instant grounds to any full-sized chocolate cake or brownie recipe.