So why exactly do worms love coffee grounds so much?

takadi(7)August 20, 2008

Maybe they are addicted to caffeine?

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leearnold(z5 In.)

I think it has to do with several things. First is the caffeine. Secondly, coffee grounds have lots of surface area which allows bacteria to grow (and as you know, THAT is what they eat). Thirdly, I believe it adds to the gritty substance in their "guts" that they use to grind their food, since they have no teeth.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:14AM
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I don't think mine are all that thrilled with it. I sprinkle it on top of the bedding, and they don't loll around in it. It mixes in with the vermicompost, so it's hard to tell whether they eat it or not. But it saves throwing it out.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 7:56AM
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Its a fairly good source of nitrogen,hence protein when mixed with more carbon sources such as your paper bedding, so if it is kept moist the microorganisms in the bedding will certainly thrive on it. I've mentioned before, I think, that my worms sometimes go for feeding after feeding with little else but coffee grounds and mine are thriving, reproducing, and catching fish too:) Steve

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 4:50PM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

I don't think they like coffee much at all .... certainly not for the nitrogen, as there's actually very little available N in coffee ..... and the grounds don't hold water, so are actually quite slow to decompose on their own, they're more like humus ..... the only time I've found worms dealing with grounds is when I mixed them with carrot pulp from a juicing operation, a fine, water holding material higher in available N and sugers


Here is a link that might be useful: about coffee grounds

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:33PM
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My worms seem to love it when I add a coffee ground and tea bag mixture.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:48PM
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Hey Bill, I looked at that link and it seems that the total nitrogen in coffee grounds is as high or higher than most manure. The availability of it will be taken care of by the microbes in the bin. As you have said, compost happens. My worms thrive on coffee grounds. Your worms, well Bill, You feed them too good!:) they are spoiled. Happy worming. Steve

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 7:38AM
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I don't think there's very much caffeine in used grounds, but there's bound to be a little.

I give my worms coffee grounds pretty regularly and they do love it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:22PM
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soooooo do they like it or not!!!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 6:47PM
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1. I doubt caffeine affects worms the way it affects mammals.
2. Worms like any food. So yes, they like used coffee grounds.

The thing to be careful of is that if you put in a lot at once, it will heat up, which can kill the worms. It's wise to either pre-compost it or make sure it's in a small part of the bin so the worms have somewhere to escape to if needed.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 5:10PM
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I wish I knew for sure.
I have about 20,000 lbs of coffee waste,give or take a 1,000lbs. & hope to put red worms in it when it warms up.
So I would love to know for sure, now.
Thing is, I can tell you by July or August for sure.
Now if I can figure out a way to keep the Fire ants out of the red worms, I could have casting for my asparagus beds.
I hope to put in 500 crowns this fall, but that is another thread.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Hey, Jolj, I'd like to know how your coffee grounds and worms are doing. Before I came across this Garden Web thread, I read a bit about a red worm composting site:

They were using LOTS of coffee grounds, too. Maybe not as much as what you have but on a smaller scale w/same type of intent.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:05AM
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Mine do like coffee grounds but with one caveat.. It has to be pre-rotted. A couple of years ago, I started making my own coffee at home instead of going to the local coffee shop. Well, I started putting the coffee grounds straight into the worm bin and they didn't seem to take to it. I realized that they tended to dry out before bacteria can form and start to break it down. Then I started to combine it with other "wet" foods and that helped but it took about a week before the worms would attack it.

I recently started a new bin and decided to use a pre-rot container and not only do the worms attack the food almost immediately, I had almost zero worm escapes post introduction. I put pre-rotted food (about 70-80% coffee grounds) into the new bin and then transferred about two pounds of worms in. I was expecting the typical worm chase that night but to my surprise, I only found three worms at the bottom of the bin in the morning.. all of which were still alive and transferred easily back into the bin. I then looked at the area where the food was and it was filled with worms. I immediately put another scoop of pre-rotted grounds into another corner and within about 4 hours, that area was also filled with worms.

My theory is that since bacteria feeds on sugar, just coffee by itself doesn't attract sufficient amount of bacteria and without bacteria, worms won't eat it. The pre-rot process helps introduces a large shot of bacteria into the grounds that helps to break it down and make it more attractive to the worms. Try combining coffee grounds with a little high sugar food like banana, strawberries, carrots, etc. and leaving it for a week or so before introducing it.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Mine like it a lot. I don't know why. I only give them the wet grounds from the coffee I make at home with a drip brewer and I suppose it is a bit "pre-rotted" from sitting in the canister on my kitchen counter before it goes out to the bin. My worms get a steady diet of coffee grounds and banana peels all year round and then a variety of seasonal vegetable trimmings (lettuce, potato and carrot peels, melon rinds, etc.).

I don't feed them the super dry grounds that I get from Starbucks. I tried it once long ago and they didn't seem to like it, probably because it is too dry.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:08AM
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my worms seem to love it as long as it is wet. i often make coffee at home and right after i let it cool down and dump it in still moist. i don't put a lot of it in maybe a table spoon or 2 per day since i use kcups. the coffee itself will decompose on it's own. had it do this once when saving the grounds.

idk why they love it i would assume it's like sand + some bacteria on it. other then that idk. i never had any problems with it though i use all different types of coffee and it's the same process

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Mine don't seem to like it. I've only put it in one corner of the bin and that corner's pretty empty of worms.

Maybe they don't like Starbucks? :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:45AM
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