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Mushrooms grown on waste coffee grounds

New at home mushroom kits are made with used coffee grounds. Image: Espresso Mushroom Company

The UK consumes more than 70 million cups of coffee each year, leaving around half a million tonnes of leftover waste. The Espresso Mushroom Company puts these to good use: each of its kits allows mushrooms to be grown from the grounds of 100 espressos

The sweet-smelling leftovers create environmentally friendly compost, without leaving a coffee taste, allowing growers to produce mushrooms within two weeks on their windowsill or another light, airy space. The ‘kitchen garden’ kits grow pearl oyster mushrooms, and ‘hot pink’ oyster mushrooms, all within cardboard boxes which simply have to be watered regularly.

The team of three are Robbie, who tends to the fresh mushrooms the company also grows; communications expert Alex, and Jon.

“Jon is our man about town, literally,” says Alex.

“He says he officially ‘lives to give’ but actually takes a lot too; mainly waste coffee grounds from cafes in Brighton and Hove, then works on preparing them for the mushrooms. He’s personally collected over four tonnes – and on a bike!”

Once the mushrooms have been harvested, the compost can be added to house plants.

Alex says: “The Kitchen Gardens give any meal the wow factor - whether it’s pearl oyster mushroom risotto, hot pink sushi or a simple sauté. They are also a rare treat that even the finest greengrocers will struggle to supply – so grow your own and get creative in your kitchen.”

And it was important to the team that their business has a positive environmental impact too.

“Sustainable living is increasingly important,” says Alex, “so the environmental benefits of growing mushrooms in coffee grounds is what energises us. We hope our small company can have a catalytic effect in changing perceptions of ‘waste’ to demonstrate how it can be a valuable resource.”

Right now, it is all Espresso Mushroom Company hands on deck as the company fulfills Christmas orders for growing kits: their busiest time of year.

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By Lucy

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