Absolutely! And you can use them for a lot more than just that hot cup of joe. Here are some unique ideas for how to use those stockpiled packets:
1. For a flavor boost
When you have a bland cup of coffee—whether brewed at home or bought from a café—add some instant coffee crystals to it to intensify the flavor. If coffee is too weak or is a blonde variety, a little addition of a half tablespoon of granules can be enough to save the taste and recover the money already spend on the cup of coffee in the first place. I always keep a couple of packets with me in my purse for this reason.
2. For high-altitude travel
I also keep packets in my purse for another reason — I¹ve never had a decent cup of coffee on an airplane (a flight attendant once told me the cloudy, uneven taste came from the pots used to brew the coffee in-flight.) Now, I travel with single-use packets. They don’t take up a noticeable amount of room in my bag, and I just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water and stir stick in flight when the drink cart rolls around. I like mixing my own flavor to taste in my seat, and I especially like the aroma, which instantly brightens my mood in-flight.
3. For a twist on Rice Krispies Treats
If you want to add a little caffeine zing to an easy-to-make everyday snack, use instant coffee crystals the next time you whip up a batch of Rice Krispies Treats. As the butter and marshmallows melt, stir in a packet or two (to taste) of instant coffee. Then, add the cereal and continue as per the recipe. There will be a slight cocoa-tint to the mixture. For a real treat, stir in other fun mix-ins, like dried cranberries and salted peanuts to create a trail mix bar or chocolate chips and shredded coconut for a Kashi-inspired snack treat.
4. For an ice cube additive
I do like the flavor of iced coffee and frappuccinos, but I don't like the watered-down taste that can occur after the drink has sat around for too long. To remedy this, I add instant coffee crystals to the water in an ice cube tray to make "coffee cubes." Freeze and store just like regular ice. Then, add these to the blender or directly into a drink to make the flavor of an iced coffee beverage last longer.
5. For a melted wax scent additive
I received a plug-in wax burner for Christmas. I love it as a way to freshen the air in my home without the danger of a flame, but I found that one of the wax blocks I purchased—in a vanilla scent—left me less than impressed. The scent was too light to be effective. On a whim, I dumped a half packet of instant coffee crystals into the melted wax, and I created my own unique scent—a kind of vanilla latte! Within minutes, my house had a high-end coffee house aroma. So divine!
6. For Baking (especially desserts)
Instant coffee packets are perfect for baking, like in this recipe for a yummy Coffee Toffee Cheesecake. Instant coffee can also be substituted for brewed coffee in recipes. Tip: always mix the instant granules into hot (not cold) water so that they fully dissolve; let the coffee cool before adding it to the recipe, if needed.
7. For Bath Time
If you like the scent of coffee and want a luxe personal treat, run a warm bubble bath and sprinkle a packet of instant coffee granules under the running tap along with some Epsom salt and/or bubble bath liquid (think lavender, strawberry, or vanilla scent). Don't worry, the color of the coffee won't be noticeable in a full tub, and the scent will be faint . . . but it's a fun way to add a twist to your existing bath time ritual.
8. For houseplants
To perk-up droopy or dying house plants, mix one packet instant coffee with a few tablespoons of tap water—or sprinkle the grounds directly on the soil and water as usual. The nutrients and minerals will be an instant pick-me-up for the leaves of the plant.
Those coffee packets you scored for just pennies apiece can be used in lots of ways. And don't worry, if your stockpile gets low, The Krazy Coupon Lady will bring you more great deals to fortify your stash!