At Espresso Mushroom Company, reusing waste is central to the way we work.
We grow oyster mushrooms in used coffee grounds, collecting waste coffee from Brighton cafes.
Whilst using waste to create a product is our business, we also create a by-product of our own – after we’ve harvested our fresh mushrooms from we’re left with blocks of the growing medium. It consists mainly of coffee grounds, which have long been known as a great addition to garden soils (although quite acidic), it also contains the beneficial fungi left over from the mushroom growing process.
With all the buzz about mycorrizal fungi, we suspect the nutrient-rich organic material is perfect for the growing of a large variety of healthy plants, but haven’t yet found the chance to try it for ourselves.
Last Sunday with the support of Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, we enlisted the help of experienced green-fingered growers at Seedy Sunday – it’s based in Brighton and is UK’s biggest and longest-running community seed swap event. We were a little star-struck to meet James Wong and were interested to see that Craig Sams was presenting Grow Char, a special type of charcoal called biochar that has been enhanced with a blend of friendly bacteria and fungi for your soil – can’t have as much fungi as our mushroom coffee compost!
We were giving away bags of compost to Brighton’s growing community along with recording sheets, so they could try out our Espresso Mushroom Compost! We want to find out the best way to use it ; as a soil enhancer, compost, fertiliser or a mulch, and which plants and vegetables does it suit best?
We couldn’t believe the enthusiasm for our compost and had given it all out within a couple of hours. Apparently it looks like the real deal and smells better than ‘normal’ compost, but we’ll have to wait to find out how the plants take to it…
Check back for progress updates over the coming months, and if you’ve used the compost from your mushroom kits, let us know how you’ve got on.