Can Coffee Grounds Go in Compost? Unveiling the Truth and Benefits!

Can Coffee Grounds Go in Compost?

Composting has become increasingly popular in recent years as people have realized the benefits of recycling organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. Coffee grounds, being a common household waste item, often raise questions about their suitability for composting. In this blog post, we will explore whether coffee grounds can go in compost and how they can contribute to building healthy compost piles.

The Goodness of Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are not only a staple in our morning routines but also hold great value when it comes to composting. They are an excellent source of nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth and overall soil health. Nitrogen facilitates the decomposition process by providing energy for microorganisms responsible for breaking down organic matter.

The Science Behind Composting with Coffee Grounds

In order to understand how coffee grounds fit into the composting equation, it’s helpful to know some basic science behind the process. Composting occurs through a combination of aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) microbial activity. Microbes break down carbon-rich materials (known as browns) along with nitrogen-rich materials (known as greens). The ideal ratio is approximately 25-30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.

Using Coffee Grounds Correctly

To ensure that coffee grounds positively impact your compost pile rather than hinder its progress, follow these guidelines:

  • Moderation is key: While coffee grounds provide much-needed nitrogen, excessive amounts can throw off the balance of your compost pile. Aim for no more than 20% or less of total volume composed of coffee grounds.
  • Mix them up: Avoid clumping large amounts of coffee grounds together. Instead, mix them well with other compostable materials to distribute the nitrogen content more evenly.
  • Combine with carbon-rich materials: Coffee grounds are highly nitrogenous, so it’s crucial to balance them out with carbon-rich materials such as leaves, straw, or shredded paper. This ensures a proper carbon-to-nitrogen ratio for optimal decomposition.

Busting Composting Myths

There are several common misconceptions surrounding coffee grounds and composting. Let’s debunk some of these myths:

  • Coffee grounds make soil acidic: Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds have a neutral pH level and do not significantly alter the acidity of your soil or compost.
  • Coffee grounds attract pests: While it is true that some pests may be attracted to coffee smells initially, they quickly realize that there is nothing edible in the coffee grounds and move on. Properly mixing the coffee grounds within your compost pile will further deter any potential pest issues.

The Benefits of Using Coffee Grounds in Compost

Incorporating coffee grounds into your compost has numerous benefits:

  • Nutrient enhancement: Coffee adds valuable organic matter and essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium to your compost.
  • Aeration improvement: The texture of coffee grounds helps improve airflow within the compost pile, preventing compaction and enhancing microbial activity.
  • Sustainable waste management: By diverting used coffee grounds from landfills into your compost bin instead, you contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with organic waste decomposition in anaerobic conditions at landfill sites.


In summary, coffee grounds are an excellent addition to compost piles due to their nitrogen content and other beneficial properties. When used in moderation and mixed with carbon-rich materials, they contribute to the overall health and fertility of your compost. So, don’t hesitate to toss those coffee grounds into your compost bin – your plants will thank you!