If you’ve never considered them, coffee grounds are a great addition to your compost pile. If you are a home brewer, you can simply toss the used grounds in their paper filter right onto your pile. If you’re more of a drive-thru kind of coffee drinker like me, your local coffee shop will gladly give you their used coffee grounds. I often see the brewed grounds bagged up and free for the taking at my local Starbucks. Now, if they’d trade me a free drink for taking those grounds off their hands that would be even nicer, but sadly I pay for my coffee habit.
Every day my routine goes something like this: (me) I need coffee. (practical me) It’s not good for you. It makes you jittery. (whining me) But I love Iced Hazelnut Machiattos. (scolding me) They’re expensive. AND they’re made with crappy milk. (petulant me) I want one. I’m already in drive-through. (realistic me) **sigh** Now, run this scenario every day around three o’clock if I’m out and about. Last summer this conversation involved a salted caramel frappucino, a terrible drink that’s bad for me. Did you know you could have SIX KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS instead. of that drink? Whoa. I would MUCH rather have six doughnuts than one sugary drink. Hence, my current iced milky coffee habit. Lots less calories and added sugar.
But in the summer I crave something frozen, coffee, and sweet. Years ago, I perfected a great “pseudo-cino” recipe but it’s more like a bottled frap and while satisfying, sometimes it just doesn’t get the job done. Enter the Coffee Banana Date Smoothie that I found on Pinterest. What a cute blog! What an awesome drink! I’m totally hooked! And, I the end result is I get good espresso grounds to add to my compost! I think we can call this a win-win for everybody but the coffee shop.
The coffee grounds:
The newly addictive drink (note the knock-off cup and green straw, haha).
Wondering why used coffee grounds are good for your compost pile?
- Even though they are brown, grounds are considered a “green” compost additive, meaning they’re a source of nitrogen.
- Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen (20:1 ratio), which gives the bacteria in your pile the energy it needs to break down your scraps. Manure, which is a great jump starter to break down organic matter, has the same carbon ratio. Most home gardeners (myself included) avoid manure and animal products since they attract rodents and can harbor dangerous bacteria and pathogens. Coffee grounds are a good substitute.
- Brewed coffee grounds are relatively pH neutral (beans are acidic, but the acid is water soluble so it brews out).
- Worms seem to be drawn to coffee grounds, which helps to aerate and further break down your scraps.
- Grounds help to enhance soil structure.
The next time you indulge your coffee habit, remember to pick up some used grounds! But be responsible. If you decide to perk up your compost with substantial amounts of coffee grounds, be sure to layer it with equal amounts of grass clippings and leaves.