Are There Any Benefits to Coffee Grounds?

Are There Any Benefits to Coffee Grounds?
The opinions shared here are based upon my own experiences working with compost and may not be shared by all.

Close up of Coffee Grounds

l use coffee grounds in three prime locations – the hot composter, the wormeries and the bokashi units. Although l know some gardeners use them in the garden for the nutrients and the pest controlling abilities they possess. It’s just a fabulous way of recycling an ingredient that otherwise might end up in a landfill.

I’ll cover all avenues here – however, l’ll start with my uses.

1] Composting Ingredient

If you were to add too much coffee grounds to your compost pile, you could risk making the heap too acidic; however, if you work on adding around 15% coffee grounds to the mix, this would make for a nice nitrogen insertion. Whilst coffee grounds aren’t directly acidic. It would help if you still exercised caution with the balance. Remember, it is classed as a green material.

If you work with layers when creating compost, think of it like this – layer one – green waste, layer 2 – brown waste – leaves or shredded paper – and layer 3 – coffee grounds. Think in thirds.

Coffee grounds hold around 1.5% nitrogen and are classed in compost as green material.

Many composters have also suggested that when coffee grounds are added to kitchen wastes in the compost pile, they increase the overall nutrient % compared to simply having kitchen and garden wastes.

Adding coffee grounds can also help increase the heat of a hot compost pile and will help to sustain higher temperatures for longer. Coffee grounds keep the heat longer than some manures do. I know this first hand. Last winter, l added a slightly off and out-of-date tin of coffee to the compost pile, and the heat was impressive.

Coffee grounds will take roughly a month to break down in the compost pile, give or take a couple of weeks or turns if running a hot compost compared to a warm compost pile.

2] Feeding the Wormeries

Not everyone loves coffee grounds; l mean, you might receive different answers on the opinion surveys from slugs and snails, but strangely enough, earthworms seem addicted to caffeine! Like anything new in the feeding regime, introduce it slowly so that the worm farm residents can acclimate to the introduction.

Some worm farmers rate the grounds so much they use them as a worm chow treat! I plan to sprinkle the grounds above the surface of the farms when l feed.

3] Adding to the bokashi bin

I run five bokashi units here. I have two neighbours that give me their food waste weekly on top of the kitchen waste produced here at home. I fill a bokashi bin once every ten days. I am never without bokashi juice or tea as liquid fertiliser, drain unblockers or compost accelerator.

I add a bin of fermented waste to the compost once every five turns or fifteen days.

So any surplus coffee grounds l have that are not being sprinkled into the worm farms as a feeding treat or added as a third in layer form to the compost heap will be placed into the bokashi unit and treated like any other waste commodity in so far as covered with bran and allowed to brew and ferment.

The first three are my main uses for the grounds. However, there are other uses for those interested.

4] Gardening

The coffee grounds can be used as mulch – just remember to spread thinly not to upset the plants too much. The introduction will also encourage earthworms to the surface, who will consume and burrow down and aerate the soil, improve the tilth and soil structure, and allow the soil to absorb the nitrogen nutrient. The soil’s microorganisms will also break down the grounds.

Coffee grounds are an excellent deterrent for slugs and snails. Recent studies have been examining the toxicity of caffeine to slugs and snails.

Thin layering only; otherwise, the grounds will set like concrete and disable the ground’s ability to breathe in oxygen and not allow water to seep in. Too much of a good thing will cause issues, so think of sprinkling around a half inch on the soil.

Coffee grounds will not destabilise the PH of your soil as they neutralise as they decompose.

The other bonus is that you can also compost the paper coffee filters, strip them up, shred them, and add them to either the bokashi or your worm farm.

If none of the above appeals – you could always try your hand at growing mushrooms in coffee grounds. They are considered an ideal growing medium for what many think is a challenging to grow fungi.

Pretty versatile in my books and packed with benefits too.

Common Composting Questions Directory

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Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

12 thoughts on “Are There Any Benefits to Coffee Grounds?

  1. I don’t know jack about composting (to be honest I don’t care either LOL) but my mother made me put coffee grounds on the azaleas and egg shells went on the roses. She was a dab hand at gardening and I have no idea where she learned since she was born and grew up in a tenement in NYC . I had to do all the work – she just pointed and instructed. Probably why I swore when I grew up I would never mow another lawn or pull another weed or plant another plant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did you learn all this?

      Practical hand so nexperience and reading.

      Where was your interest peeked?

      I have always liked the other side to gardening – as in compost and a love for bugs.

      How you know so much so well?

      Focus and interest and a passion for learning.

      Did have mentor ?

      No just me.

      What is influence from?

      Fascination with life beneath the soil.


      Liked by 1 person

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