ROCHESTER — When I heard the American Academy of Cardiology
that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and poor heart rhythm and can help you love longer, I was pretty excited.
Coffee is one of life’s simple yet delicious pleasures. Especially that first cup of the day – a total experience of mind and body. As the aroma calls me to the coffee pot and the liquid heat fills my favorite (albeit chipped) mug, my being floods with hope for a productive and meaningful day. Even if my day turns out to be less than stellar, at least I have that coffee moment to remember and look forward to.
The National Coffee Association
notes that Americans are drinking more coffee than ever, with 62% of us doing it daily. All this coffee making leads to an estimate
wet, soggy coffee grounds that could end up in landfills or incinerators.
What else can you do with your used coffee grounds? Put them in your garden.
“People have this caffeine craving,” says Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick, vice president of Olmsted County Extension Senior Gardener Volunteers. “So we take the waste generated by businesses in the area and use it in our gardens.”
Will Forsman is co-owner of Cafe Steam in Rochester, Minnesota. Its cafes participate in the Community Coffeehouse Composting project, launched by Kirkpatrick in 2021. Every day, Cafe Steam and a slew of other cafes and restaurants in the area deposit their used coffee grounds, used tea leaves and other suitable materials composting in buckets. Once a week, people can sign up to haul them, dump the contents in their gardens, and return the rinsed buckets to the donating establishment.
“As cafe owners, we have the opportunity to participate in progressive initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint,” Forsman said. “This is a simple and inclusive activity that we can do as a community to help the environment.”
Coffee grounds benefit your garden by improving soil quality.
“Microbes in the soil feed on coffee grounds,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s a big myth that coffee grounds will acidify or lower the pH of your soil. That doesn’t happen. Instead, it adds organic matter by increasing your soil’s microbiology.”
Tom Bellinger, president of the Master Gardener Volunteers, puts ground coffee in his garden in the spring before he plants anything. It spreads the soil around it, which will interact with dry matter (like dead leaves), slowly decompose and introduce nutrients into the soil.
“I take the coffee grounds from the night before and sprinkle them in my yard,” Bellinger said. “And I’ve had neighbors come up and say they’ve noticed me putting land in the garden. They ask me what I’m doing in the world. Well, I tell them it’s kinda like throwing slow-acting fertilizer around me.”
Oh, and BTW, I’ll have a skinny latte.
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