Free from Starbucks – Coffee Grounds

I asked David to do the unthinkable today and stop at Starbucks. All this grey cold and rain has made me a little blue and I sorely needed a perk-me-up. Thus the power of a (decaf) caramel macchiato.

Near our house is a really cool old building that used to be a drive-thru Coffee People until Starbucks bought them out and shut them down. I’ll admit, however, they did a really nice remodel, and managed to keep the building’s original shape. Plus, the new cafe has a cozy indoor seating area that the old one didn’t. Anyway, on our way out David noticed a bin underneath the counter that had bags marked “free.” I asked David how in the world he noticed them down there and he said something to the effect that he has a sixth sense when it comes to free stuff. I think that is true. The bags contained used coffee grounds, something that I’ve heard a lot about since learning to gardening a few years ago.

Although we save our grounds to compost, we would never be able to acquire the scale of grounds that Starbucks’ must produce in a single day. We took two bags. Here’s what the label says (although their’s is written in all caps. Someone needs to tell them that they don’t need to yell):

Used Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are a nutritional additive for your soli. During the brewing prodess most of the acidity is removed, leaving used grounds with an average PH of 6.9 and a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20-1.

Add grounds directly to your garden…
Apply this “green” material as a side dressing to nitrogen-loving plants, including most perennials and allium plants. Balance the nutrition of your soil with “brown” materials such as leaves or dried grass.
Or to your compost
Combine with “brown” materials in your compost pile. Use grounds within 2-3 weeks of brewing to capture the most nutritional value.

For more information on usage and benefits you can also read Sunset’s Starbucks Coffee Compost Test or visit Starbucks’ Composting page.


3 Responses to “Free from Starbucks – Coffee Grounds”

  1. 1 liv sky August 16, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Thank you Starbucks for offering the coffee grounds to we gardeners. I welcome the day when we all, homes and corporations can become zero landfill establishments!

  2. 2 vermiphile June 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Nice tip. I went to a local Starbucks today to see if they had grounds for composting. Indeed they did, but not in handy pre-packaged bags. They kept the grounds in a tall kitchen trash can and I had an extra plastic bag and fllled that up. Perhaps at closing or if it is not too busy, they’ll let me take the whole thing.

    Don’t think they were “yelling” with the all caps, just a type choice. I think the words were meant to fill the yellow flower pot but somehow betweem the designer and printer the intention was lost.

  3. 3 Me February 13, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Absolutely. I’ve used Starbucks grounds in growing a variety of things, including burley tobacco–which I do not smoke. Just a hobby. The composted soil becomes rich, soft and textured. However, they should be composted before using with soil, unless they are used as a topdressing/sidedressing. You can’t expect to plant seeds in raw coffee grounds. Warmer, most weather will break them down properly in fairly rapid time.

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