How to Compost Coffee Grounds: Complete Guide

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Do you ever wonder where those coffee grounds end up after you drink them? Adding coffee grounds to your compost pile are a great way to add nutrients to your soil.

I’m going to share with you my experience composting coffee grounds and using coffee grounds to fertilize my garden.

Coffee Ground Basics

When we refer to coffee grounds, we are talking about the ground-up coffee beans left over when you have made coffee in a French press, filter coffee machine, or espresso maker.

Basically, any way of making coffee that involves the beans rather than instant coffee granules.

Coffee grounds make an excellent fertilizer as they are high in nitrogen and contain other beneficial nutrients. Save those used coffee grounds for composting and using in your garden.

If you don’t make coffee at home, then you can always head down to a local coffee shop. Coffee houses often throw their old grinds in the trash, so they will probably be more than happy for you to collect them as often as you want.

Coffee grounds also make a fantastic soil conditioner as they are an organic material that can aid with water drainage. You can actually add coffee grounds directly into the soil as soon as you’ve used them!

Worms love coffee grounds, so they are a good way of attracting them into your soil or compost pile. While some people will swear that you can stop slugs and ants getting to your plants by sprinkling coffee grounds around them, there is no real evidence to suggest this is true.

A word of warning if you have a dog, especially one that will eat anything! Coffee grinds will still have high levels of caffeine even after they have been used, which can be very harmful to dogs.

Take care when using coffee grinds around your dog that you are not putting them anywhere that your dog can access.

Can You Compost Coffee Grounds?

Yes, you can compost coffee grounds and they are a great addition to your compost. They contain nutrients, organic material, and they attract worms. In fact, there is no reason not to add them!

They are one of the best things you can add to your compost

Nitrogen-rich coffee grounds should be treated as green compost material, so be sure to add brown compost material for a good brown and green compost balance. Brown materials include shredded paper and cardboard for your pile. 

Some people may mention the acid in coffee, so you can use it with acid-loving plants, but this actually isn’t a consideration with coffee grounds. 

Coffee grounds don’t have high acidic content, even though your cup of coffee does. Coffee grounds have a neutral pH level in studies, so you don’t need to worry about mixing coffee ground with a layer of soil.

Coffee Grounds in Soil

As previously mentioned, you can add coffee grinds directly to your soil. This fact is not limited to the soil in your yard, and you can also sprinkle coffee grinds into the soil of houseplants.

Coffee ground will attract worms to your soil, and the worms will aerate the soil. This factor is one of the best reasons to use coffee grounds.

Worms are essential for healthy soil and compost, and the more you can attract into your soil, the more your plants will benefit.

Some sources recommend using coffee grounds as mulch, but this can cause more problems than add benefits. In large amounts, coffee grounds can act like clay soil and stick together, which means they may stop an adequate quantity of water from reaching the roots.

Coffee grounds can help with deterring snails and slugs from invading your plants too. Add a barrier of coffee grounds around your garden or specific plants that you don’t want slugs and snails to infest. There are stories that coffee grounds also help deter other pests and bugs. 

Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer

Coffee grounds make an excellent slow-release fertilizer if you sprinkle small amounts on your soil. However, the best way to utilize them as a fertilizer is to add them to your composter.

Coffee grounds contain essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and a few other micronutrients. While specifics depend on several factors, any coffee ground will have enough nutrients to make tita beneficial fertilizer.

Do note that coffee grounds do not act as a replacement for nitrogen fertilizer, even though they contain nitrogen. So be sure to add a nitrogen fertilizer at the same time. 

Can You Compost Coffee Filters?

Yes, paper coffee filters can be composted along with the coffee grounds. There is no need to separate these when adding them.

The filter will count as a carbon, brown material, and the grounds are green materials, so it’s actually a good combination for well-balanced compost!

If you want to keep any chemicals out of your compost, then you should opt for unbleached coffee filters when purchasing them from the store.

Unbleached paper coffee filters can also be used for vermicomposting, and you can also add them to an indoor worm farm if you have one.  

Can You Compost Coffee Pods?

Most coffee pods are made of aluminum or plastic, therefore they are not compostable.

However, compostable varieties are also on the market. There are many different types available, so you will most likely find one that is compatible with your machine.

The good news is that most coffee pods are at least recyclable and can be added to your recycle bin at home. However, you should always check with your local authority to confirm they are compostable.

If you find that you cannot recycle them, then you can always use them for crafting!

Composting Coffee Ground Final Thoughts

Coffee grounds make a great addition to your compost pile. They provide a nice texture and color to your compost, while their nutrient content makes them a valuable part of your compost. You can also use coffee grounds to create a barrier against pests.

For more articles on composting various ingredients, check out these articles: 

Composting Coffee FAQs

Can you put too much coffee grounds in compost?

Yes, it’s possible to put too much coffee grounds in compost. Coffee ground is still considered green compost material, so adding too much of it will lead to an unbalanced compost pile. To avoid this problem, be sure to add brown material. Try using other organic matter such as grass clippings, newspaper, sawdust, or wood chips.

Why are coffee grounds not good for compost?

Coffee grounds are not good for compost because they contain caffeine. The caffeine amounts are usually low, but if you add too much coffee ground, the caffeine will be toxic to plants. Coffee grounds are also slightly acidic, which means they can burn plants in large amounts.

Is coffee ground good for plants?

Yes, coffee ground is good for plants. Coffee grounds are excellent for planting because they contain a lot of nitrogen. Nitrogen is essential for healthy roots and stems. Coffee grounds are also rich in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and sulfur. These elements help plants make strong, healthy roots and stems.

Can I put coffee grounds directly in my garden?

Yes, you can put coffee grounds directly in your garden. Be careful with the amount of grounds you add to the soil, but adding directly will give nutrients to the soil. It will also help attract worms that are beneficial to compost piles too. The worms will help aerate the compost to aid in the decomposition process.  

Do tomatoes like coffee grounds?

Tomatoes love coffee grounds. Tomatoes like slightly acidic soil, so using coffee grounds will help create this environment. Coffee grounds also make a great fertilizer because they contain phosphates, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, and sulfur. Coffee grounds are rich in potassium and nitrogen, which help promote healthy tomato roots. Adding coffee grounds to the soil around your tomato plants will improve their overall health and increase yields.

Which plants like coffee grounds?

Plants that like coffee grounds include roses, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, radishes, cabbage, lilies, and hydrangeas. All of these plants need a little extra nutrition from time to time, and coffee grounds are perfect for providing that extra boost. Coffee grounds will also help improve soil structure.

Do roses like coffee grounds?

Roses love coffee grounds, but use the grounds in moderation. Coffee grounds are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. These elements help roses grow strong stems and healthy blooms. To make sure your rose garden stays lush and full of flowers, try using coffee grounds as fertilizer. Just sprinkle a few tablespoons around each pot once a month.

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Written by:

Denise Davis
Denise Davis is an avid gardener, deeply rooted in growing organic veggies and crafting homemade fertilizers. She cherishes the earthy essence of composting and the continuous learning that gardening provides. Denise sees gardening as a holistic activity, offering physical and mental benefits alongside the joy of consuming what you cultivate. Her passion is to inspire others to embrace gardening as a rewarding, healthful lifestyle.

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