Can I Put Coffee Grounds In My Compost Pile?

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In Brief: Can I Put Coffee Grounds In My Compost Pile?

To make soil healthy for plants, we need to add materials that help improve soil quality and nutrient capacity. Can coffee grounds be a good addition to your compost pile? The quick answer is yes, you can. But it has to be done in a certain way otherwise you can cause more damage than good. Here we will show you how to put coffee grounds in your compost pile.

A compost pile supplies all that plants need to grow where planted. Ingredients vary, though, and one may ask if ingredients like coffee grounds can be added to a compost pile.

This article sheds some light on whether or not coffee can be added to a compost pile as it dissects the benefits and issues of using it.

How Coffee Grounds Can Be Put In a Compost Pile

There are different ways that coffee grounds can be added to a compost pile, as we will see below.

Coffee grounds can be added by mixing directly into the soil and adding a nitrogen fertilizer.

This will help the breakdown of the coffee grounds and produce a soil that is richer in nitrogen through microbial action.

The coffee grounds can also be composted by spreading it on the soil surface and covering it with leaves or bark in a mulching process.

Another way to add coffee grounds is to mix it in equal ratios (1:1:1) with leaves and fresh grass clippings in a process called layering.

This should be turned once a week and will be fully composted in three to six months.

Coffee grounds could also be added to an existing pile that has not been turned, and it will act as a high carbon source for added balance.

Since used coffee grounds do not spoil easily, they may also be stored for future use, and molds formed during storage can be used in the composting process.

Filter papers used in coffee preparation can also be added to the compost pile.

Benefits Of Using Coffee Grounds In My Compost Pile

Some of the benefits of using coffee grounds in a compost pile are highlighted below.

Soil Amendment

When added to the compost pile, coffee grounds help improve the nutrient quality of the soil, as it supplies nitrogen in the breakdown process.

Microbial growth, which is highly encouraged by the coffee grounds, is increased.

These microbes help break down the coffee grounds so that a high yield of nitrogen is obtained by the soil.

This soil nutrient is highly beneficial to plant growth, as it contains chlorophyll, which is a major component of photosynthesis. Coffee grounds also improve drainage, water retention, and aeration of the soil.


Every farmer’s delight is to be able to get good materials for his farm at very affordable rates (if possible, at no cost at all).

Using coffee grounds in your compost will definitely save you some hard-earned cash since you can get it at zero cost from home or from other coffee shops that want to save money on transporting such “waste” to designated landfills.

In the end, you save yourself and the coffee shop owners some fuel and money.

Environmentally Friendly

According to Dan Hurley (a waste management engineer), coffee grounds are highly beneficial to the environment as they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This helps prevent the depletion of the ozone layer, which has been a global climate challenge in recent times. If left in landfills, coffee grounds will decompose to produce methane gas, which is as bad a culprit as carbon dioxide.

Sustained Temperatures

Another great benefit of adding coffee grounds to your compost pile is that they help sustain high temperatures in the compost pile.

This is particularly helpful, as high temperatures reduce the growth of potentially dangerous pathogens that could harm the plants.

The sustained temperature also improves soil structure and attracts earthworms, which are useful to the soil.

Watch the video below to see some of the benefits of adding coffee to your compost pile:


Possible Issues Of Using Coffee Grounds In My Compost Pile

Some concerns have been raised over time about the use of coffee grounds in compost piles, and we will look at these concerns here.


Most think that coffee grounds are too acidic in nature to be of any use to the soil. However, researchers have indicated otherwise.

Cindy Wise, Coordinator of the Compost Specialist Program at Lanes County Office in Oregon State University Extension Services, says that coffee grounds are very close to neutral, having a pH ranging between 6.5 and 6.8, so they do not acidify the soil as is thought.

Unused coffee grounds could be acidic, but the acid (which is water-soluble) leeches into coffee drinks when brewed, leaving slightly neutral coffee grounds that are beneficial to the soil.

Source: The Spruce

Non-Composted Coffee Grounds

Naturally, coffee grounds that are not composted will not add any value to the soil, and they may be completely useless.

If you must use coffee grounds, you must ensure that the grounds are well composted so as to benefit from the nitrogen supply of the coffee grounds.

This can be easily done by mulching or mixing it into the soil or through any of the methods of composting coffee grounds already discussed above.

Once fully composted, you can be sure that your soil will benefit greatly from these coffee grounds.

Final Verdict – Can I Put Coffee Grounds In My Compost Pile?

Coffee grounds are definitely a good additive to compost piles, as they are able to supply nitrogen to the soil and also provide some of the energy required by bacteria to convert organic matter to compost.

In addition to the above, they are easily sourced and environmentally friendly when used in a compost pile. Also, they are able to provide the soil with the right temperatures needed to keep the soil healthy for plant growth.

The answer is yes, you most definitely can put coffee grounds in your compost pile, and you will enjoy all the benefits that come with it, as stated above.


Can fresh coffee grounds be used in composting?

Though acidic, fresh coffee grounds can be used in composting, especially for acid-loving plants like azaleas, it may not be suitable for alkaline plants like tomatoes.

Can coffee grounds be stored for future use?

Coffee grounds do not deteriorate easily, and even when they do, the molds formed are useful in composting. Yes, coffee grounds can be stored for future use.

Are used coffee grounds acidic in nature?

Contrary to popular opinion, used coffee grounds are actually not acidic. They have a pH that is almost neutral and ranges between 6.5 and 6.8


Environmentally friendly, highly economical, improving soil quality, and encouraging microbial growth – it is clearly visible that coffee grounds are a very good addition to your compost pile.

Enjoy your coffee and enjoy using the grounds to enrich your soil for better plant growth.