4 Reasons to Use Coffee for Composting

Organic Gardening
Coffee Grounds For Composting

The quality of soil is very important for your garden and house plants.

While there are many good commercial options available, you may also create rich and fertile soil all by yourself.

All you need is some yard waste and kitchen scraps such as fruits and vegetables as they break down.

Other good materials are paper and tea bags. Or coffee. Coffee makes a great addition to your composting mix and it makes the soil nutrient-rich.

Main reasons to use coffee for composting:

  • Coffee is an excellent source of nitrogen.
  • Higher composting heat.
  • Vermicomposting (composting with worms).
  • Reducing waste.

Nitrogen Source

Coffee is an excellent source of nitrogen for the soil. A compost pile usually consists of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and moisture. A perfect mix of these elements will make decomposing organism break down the organic materially quickly. The result is rich humus ideal for plant growth. Good sources of carbon are brown materials, such as wood chips and leaves. Good sources of nitrogen are grass trimmings, vegetable scraps and coffee. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen; their carbon to nitrogen ratio is 20 to 1, which is very similar to grass trimmings. It is recommended that you add no more than 20 percent of coffee by volume of grounds in the compost pile.

Higher Composting Heat

The goal is for composting to occur as fast as possible, creating rich humus. Composting is quicker when the pile has a high temperature. This sustained heat is also great for killing pathogens and weed seeds. Often, manure is added to the mix to increase the heat. However, you may also use coffee. Coffee grounds are a cheap and effective way to reach higher composting heat. Not to mention it's often easier and more convenient to handle coffee than manure.


Coffee grounds are also great for vermicomposting (composting with worms). Usually, gardeners use red wigglers (Lumbricus rubellus or Eisenia foetida) for vermicomposting. These worms have a great appetite so they produce compost very quickly. In order to make them even more effective, it's good to give them something tasty, and they seem to enjoy coffee very much. Other diet they like is made of kitchen scraps and paper. You can perform vermicomposting in a special bin in your basement or garage and add some coffee grounds. This delicacy food will make the worms make compost at a high speed year long.

Reducing Waste

Organic materials actually take up a lot of space at landfills. They produce dangerous methane and leachate pollutants. When it comes to coffee, coffee grounds make a large portion of waste at coffeehouses. This is a lot of waste producing pollutants. In your household, coffee grounds made from your daily pot or two may seem insignificant, but the waste quickly adds up over time. It's much better to put those nitrogen levels in your compost pile than a landfill.

Photo credit: Liezl Yap

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