How to Make Compost Tea with Coffee Grounds: A Sustainable Gardening Solution

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Many of us can’t imagine starting our day without a hot cup of coffee. But what do we do with the coffee grounds after we’re done brewing our cup of joe? Most of us simply throw them away, not realizing the potential they hold for our gardens. In this article, I will guide you on how to make compost tea with coffee grounds, a sustainable gardening solution that will benefit both your plants and the environment.

Why should you make compost tea with coffee grounds?

Reduce Waste and Landfill Space

Coffee grounds are an excellent source of organic matter that can be used to enrich your garden soil. By making compost tea with coffee grounds, you are diverting this waste material from ending up in landfills and reducing the amount of trash produced.

Improve Soil Structure

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth. When incorporated into the soil, coffee grounds help improve the soil structure, making it more porous and allowing for better water drainage and root development.

Benefit Plant Health

Compost tea made with coffee grounds acts as a natural fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients into the soil, providing continuous nourishment to your plants. It also enhances soil microbial activity, promoting a healthy and fertile soil ecosystem.

Save Money

Instead of spending money on commercial fertilizers, making compost tea with coffee grounds is a cost-effective way to nourish your plants and promote their overall health and productivity. It’s a sustainable gardening solution that helps you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.

What do you need to make compost tea with coffee grounds?

Now that you understand the benefits of making compost tea with coffee grounds, let’s dive into the step-by-step process. Here’s what you’ll need:

Coffee Grounds

Save your used coffee grounds instead of throwing them away. It’s best to use organic coffee grounds to avoid unwanted chemicals or additives in your compost tea.


You’ll need water to brew the compost tea. You can use tap water, but if it’s chlorinated, leave it to sit overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

A Container

Find a 5-gallon bucket or any other large container that you can use to brew your compost tea. Make sure it has a lid, as this will help keep any odors contained.

Air Stone and Aquarium Pump

To encourage oxygenation, you’ll need an air stone and an aquarium pump. These are readily available at pet stores or online gardening suppliers.

Molasses (Optional)

Adding a small amount of molasses to your compost tea can help feed the beneficial microorganisms, speeding up the decomposition process and enhancing the tea’s nutrient content.

Strainer or Cheesecloth

Before applying the compost tea to your plants, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any larger particles or debris.

Step-by-step process to make compost tea with coffee grounds

Step 1: Collect and Store the Coffee Grounds

After brewing your coffee, collect the spent coffee grounds in a container with a lid. Store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to make your compost tea. Remember to avoid using coffee grounds with additives like cream or sugar.

Step 2: Prepare the Compost Tea Brew

Fill your container with water, leaving a few inches at the top to prevent overflow. Add the coffee grounds to the water, aiming for a ratio of 1 part coffee grounds to 5 parts water. If desired, you can add a small amount of molasses to kick-start the decomposition process.

Step 3: Oxygenate the Brew

Place the air stone into the container and attach it to the aquarium pump. Submerge the air stone in the water and turn on the pump to introduce oxygen into the brew. Oxygenation is crucial for the growth of aerobic microorganisms that aid in the decomposition of the coffee grounds.

Step 4: Brew the Compost Tea

Let the compost tea brew for 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure even decomposition and oxygen distribution. The longer you brew the tea, the stronger it will become. However, avoid brewing for too long, as it may become anaerobic and produce unpleasant odors.

Step 5: Strain and Apply

After the brewing period, strain the compost tea using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any solids. Transfer the liquid to a separate container for easy application. You can dilute the compost tea with water at a 1:10 ratio before applying it to your plants to avoid over-fertilization.

How to use compost tea with coffee grounds in your garden?

Now that you have a batch of nutrient-rich compost tea with coffee grounds, it’s time to put it to use in your garden. Here are a few ways to incorporate it into your gardening practices:

Foliar Spray

Pour the compost tea into a spray bottle or a garden sprayer, and apply it directly to the leaves of your plants. Ensure the leaves are well-coated, as this method allows for quick nutrient absorption and provides a protective barrier against pests and diseases.

Soil Drench

To nourish the roots and improve the overall soil fertility, you can water your plants with compost tea. Simply pour the tea at the base of your plants, allowing it to soak into the soil and reach the root zone.

Compost Heap Enhancement

Add leftover coffee grounds directly to your compost heap. The nitrogen-rich coffee grounds will accelerate the decomposition process and contribute to the overall nutrient content of your compost, resulting in a rich and fertile soil amendment.


If you have a worm composting system, you can introduce coffee grounds, along with the compost tea, to feed your worms. Worms love coffee grounds and will break them down into nutrient-rich castings, which can be used as a potent fertilizer for your plants.

By following these methods of application, your plants will thrive, and you’ll reduce your environmental impact by repurposing coffee grounds that would otherwise go to waste.


Making compost tea with coffee grounds is a sustainable gardening solution that allows you to repurpose coffee waste and enrich your garden soil. By diverting coffee grounds from landfills, improving soil structure, and benefiting plant health, you contribute to a greener and more eco-friendly environment. With just a few simple steps, you can create a nutrient-dense compost tea that will nourish your plants and promote their growth. So, join the sustainable gardening movement and start brewing your own compost tea with coffee grounds today!

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