what are coffee grounds (brown - green?)

greenman62February 27, 2014

im pretty new to composting.
I have a LOT of grounds from starbucks.
probably 60-80 pounds.
They sat there by themselves for a couple of weeks,
They actually started breaking down a bit even though it was cold, i had added some fruit peels, and added some beneficial fungi i had for the garden.
The grounds were turning brown, and some had some white fungus on them.

Last week i added 2 large bags of mixed leaves and grass, and turned the pile twice since.

I dont know if its getting hot, and i had no way to shred the leaves.

I dont know what the % is supposed to be, and i dont know where the grounds fall (green/brown/black?)

any ideas ?

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

There is a good FAQ link at the top of this forum. You might want to check it out, it should answer most of your questions. Read through it and then check back here if you have any more q's.

Not that I don't want to talk about how great coffee grounds are...

I am jealous that you are turning a pile when my is buried under snow right now.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 4:30PM
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It is a green.

Having composted with UCGs in great quantities in the past, I envy you. :O)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Coffee grounds are about 2 percent Nitrogen so they are considered a "green" or a source of N.
A white "fungus" may be an indication the mix is too wet, but then again if may be the mycelia of mushrooms, a fungus that is at work digesting those coffee grounds. Generally fungi prefer a wetter environment and cooler then do the bacteria that digest most organic matter.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:52AM
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Coffee grounds are a weak green, compared to manure or grass clippings, so it's hard to overshoot on the N content of a pile with a lot of grounds.

You can dig into your pile, if it's warm but not smelly it's perfect, stinky = too much N, add browns, if it's cold you can add more greens. "Observe and adjust" will get you there.

Happy rotting!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:19AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Doesn't Starbucks have a web page telling us all about it? I''l do a search when I have more time.

I was probably thinking of the Sunset analysis linked by someone below.

This post was edited by albert_135 on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 15:07

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Sunset magazine hade some Starbucks coffee grounds analyzed and they posted that on line.

Here is a link that might be useful: nutrients in coffee grounds

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:29AM
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May be a silly question relevant to coffe grounds and filters. So I take 10 gallons of Grinds and Filters home. After pulling all the filters out, I have about 6 gallons of grinds and 4 gallons of filters.

Being I am extremely new to this and unable to find much on the filters themselve, how do you account for the wet filters. Green, brown, neutral?


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:32AM
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The filters are paper so they are browns. You will find they break down very quickly.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:42AM
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Thank you

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:20AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I compost the filters, too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Yeah, don't bother separating out the filters. I get a gallon or so per week of grounds and filters from my wife's office, and I just spread them in a layer on the pile and cover with something else. That way they don't clump up too much. But we only pull filters out when using grounds directly on plants (roses, etc.) in the summer. The filters go into the compost then too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Cornell and most web sites say used coffee grounds are a C:N ratio of 20:1, if that is what the '%' in your OP was asking. If not, sorry, many people prefer to avoid any discussion of C:N, or greens vs. browns.

I'm afraid the whole leaves will not do much to generate heat with the grounds, leaves must be shredded to break down quicker. I shred my leaves four times with my mower (when my chipper/shredder is broken).

When the Starbucks grounds were quite wet, I used to break open the bags and let them dry in the rubbermaid containers in the garage or basement. If you kept them too many weeks, a white fungus-like growth began.

I remember a woman a few years back who wrote on this forum that she found a mix of grounds and paper worked well -- or at least 'smelled good'.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:21PM
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That is about what that Sunset Magazine article linked above says, too.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 6:44AM
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