Let’s start with coffee
This will actually be a bit easier to compost than you might expect. Used coffee grounds actually have a very neutral pH level! Just make sure to rinse your coffee grounds an extra time just to neutralize them as much as possible. Your rinsed coffee grounds can now be added to your compost as green matter!
It is also important to remember to buy coffee filters that have not been bleached. Bleached coffee filters cannot be composted (you don’t want bleach in your soil)! Boxes won’t always specify if the filters are bleached or not, but unbleached filters are typically brown in color and are sometimes called “natural” filters. You can always ask the barista or store clerk for help finding unbleached ones!
Advantages of using coffee grounds
Many people claim that coffee grounds keep slugs and other pests away from your plants. Apparently the caffeine negatively affects these pests so they do their best to avoid areas containing it. Worms also love coffee so it is a great way to keep your worms happy and healthy! And finally, the coffee will also substantially improve your soil structure and texture!
Okay, so tea is a bit more confusing than coffee to compost. The main reason for this is because almost every tea bag ever contains plastic. Currently, I am cutting open my tea bags and just composting the tea, not the bag itself. But the switch to plastic free tea bags actually seems pretty simple. There’s two main ways to reduce your tea waste, the first is, of course, buying your tea in bulk. Using reusable tea bags will decrease your plastic consumption and it gives you an excuse to buy cute tea infusers, so win-win. The second way would be to know which tea companies use completely plastic free bags and to switch to buying from these companies. This can be annoying because most companies will say their bags are “paper” when in reality this paper is reinforced with plastic. So here are a few companies I have found that do indeed use plastic free bags:
Good and Proper
We Are Tea
That’s about all I can find right now, but I will be updating this list as more options become available! According to the websites of many large tea companies, most of them are working on launching plastic free bags in the coming months.
How does Caffeine affect plants?
Alright so this is a bit confusing, not gonna lie. But what I’ve found is that it is best to add coffee to your compost rather than straight in to your soil (unless you know for a fact that your plants thrive off of caffeine). Caffeine will not always positively impact your plants, sometimes it will have little or no affect on the plants, and other times it could have a negative effect. For this reason I would suggest only composting a small amount of caffeine. So, caffeinated teas would be much better than coffee grounds to add to your compost since there will be a smaller amount of tea leaves, and these leaves contain less caffeine.
Caffeine is a tricky thing to deal with, even for humans. So I'm sure it will be a learning curve for each of us as we discover how our own plants respond to caffeine. Just remember to keep the caffeine level to a minimum and you should be left with fairly regular results! And also...
Any Caffeine Advice?
Let us know in the comments! I'd love to hear about the plants you have that thrive off of coffee! Or if you have suggestions for using coffee as a fertilizer! And of course, any other plastic free tea companies!