How to Compost Coffee Grounds | Dunkin’® Coffee

If your summer garden isn’t doing as well as you hoped, making compost with used Dunkin' Donuts® coffee grounds may help your plants flourish. And if you’re already composting, coffee grounds can supplement your garden with magnesium, phosphorus and other nutrients.

What Is Compost?

Compost is simply decomposed organic material--a natural process already happening in your yard. With a little bit of help and control, composting can be used to improve gardens, add nutrients to soil, top flower beds, repot plants and more.

Compostable organic materials are divided into two sections--brown and green. Brown materials, like twigs, paper, leaves and even coffee filters, are dry and high in carbon. Green materials, like grass clippings and veggie scraps, are moist and high in nitrogen. Coffee grounds, filled with potassium,​ ​ copper​, ​ calcium and other nutrients, are also considered green materials. So, make sure your materials are balanced, and toss both your used coffee filter and grounds into your compost. Read below and learn how to integrate coffee grounds into your compost routine.

Steps to Make Coffee Compost

1. Find a Container

You can compost both indoor and outdoor. Indoor composting bins vary in size and technology, so choose whichever works for you. Outdoor composting can use a bin, coffee canister, or simply be done in a pile on the ground.

2. Pick the Location

Outdoor composting bins and piles need a sunny and flat location. Piles also need a good drainage spot. Indoor compost bins will include instructions regarding the best place to put it.

3. Gather Materials

The balance of green and brown material is the most important part of composting, as well as the most difficult. Compost needs a 2:1 ratio of brown to green material to be successful. Collecting daily used ground coffee as green materials is a great place to start.

coffee grounds over vegetables

4. Start with Brown Materials

The first layer of your bin or pile should include brown materials. Twigs and sticks are a good base, followed by dried leaves and other carbon rich material.

5. Layer with Green Materials

After the brown base, green materials should follow. Green leaves, flowers, fruit peels, and coffee grounds are all good options. All materials should still be moist, which makes used grounds from your home coffee perfect for the job.

6. Continue to Layer

After the brown and green layers are set, collect kitchen and yard waste to add to your compost bin. Add these items in separate layers, and continue to do so until the bin is full.

7. Maintain the Bin

Whenever you add new material, blend the top layer with the other layers by spinning the bin or mixing with a shovel.

coffee grounds over salad

8. Harvest the Soil

Most DIY compost takes four to six months to be ready. Finished compost will be dark, crumbly, and smell like the earth. If materials are still in the process of breaking down, leave those in the pile or bin. Those materials will help new layers turn into compost.


Who knew your cup of coffee was good our garden?! Happy growing.

coffee ground compost in planter

If you’re looking for new ways to use coffee grounds beyond your daily cup, check out our new coffee recipes​. 

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