Blog for
Friday May 25th 2018

Caffeine for your Dirt?

Coffee grounds as compost materialCan you use coffee grounds in the compost pile? Hopefully this will help answer some of those questions. So how can you help your garden while enjoying a latte? It’s possible….

  • Coffee grounds are a good addition to your composting efforts. They would be considered a “green” or nitrogen source. C/N ratio about 20:1.
  • While it is widely thought that they are acidic it has been shown that most of this acidity is removed in the brewing process. Used grounds are essentially neutral and composting them with other materials will buffer any minor residual acidity.

“Roasted coffee is fairly acidic, but it appears that almost all of the acid is water soluble and is extracted during brewing. Used grounds have essentially neutral pH, although the coffee beverage produced is rather acidic. (you know when you have to go to the bathroom an hour after that yummy espresso?)
The measured pH of used coffee grounds was 6.9, with a significant amount of buffer capacity – adding the coffee to either acidic or basic solutions drove both towards neutral pH. The exact pH of used grounds will depend on the pH and alkalinity of the water used in brewing, but with any potable water, used grounds will be close to neutral pH.”

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that worms are very attracted to them so you can feel free to use them in vermiposting (worm bin)
  • The amount of grounds you would want to add to a compost pile is dependent on how many you may have available to you. If you were just using the amount that an average household might generate you should have no concerns. But some of you may have access to larger volumes and in that case you should limit the percentage to no more than 25% of the volume of the pile. As with anything don’t go crazy, everything in moderation… Take your time and watch the results over a growing season. Take a soil sample if needed.
  • There are many sources for grounds. Place a can by the office coffee machine and collect those. If you make a daily stop at a diner or donut shop for your morning fix they may save their grounds for you if you leave them an empty container of some sort. You can get a simple 5 gal bucket with a lid for very little or even free in some cases. Get two and just swap them out daily.The paper filters are also easily digested by decomposer organisms so you needn’t bother to remove them.
  • A favorite location for gathering large amounts of grounds is your local Cafe/Coffee house.  Any local coffee house and your corporate coffee will likely be super pleased to save on their disposal costs. Just ask next time your in for your fix if you can take a bag of used grounds home.
  • And of course where can you get great soil or topsoil to begin with that already has a unique low pH and the optimum Carbon to Nitrogen ratio? Check out the Premium Rainforest Blend at
    All the soil products at My Garden Bag are chemically tested monthly for soil composition so you know your plants will grow.
    It’s like caffeine for your dirt! get it… ok that was lamecaffeine for your soil
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