Improving Resilience, Sustainability and Nutritional Properties of Specialty Crops Using Composted Spent Coffee Grounds

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2019: $16,044.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. David Reed
Texas A&M University


  • Vegetables: greens (leafy), peppers
  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Soil Management: composting, amendments

    Proposal abstract:

    To improve competitiveness of producers while addressing the lack of consistent fruit and vegetable consumption among Texans, Texas A&M AgriLife Research will investigate the effectiveness of composted spent coffee grounds in increasing nutritional properties (nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants) of spinach, pepper, basil, nasturtium, and oyster and shiitake mushrooms. The effect of composted spent coffee grounds on growth and yield of these specialty crops will also be assessed. The spent coffee grounds will be provide by a cold brew company in San Antonio.

    Outcomes of the proposed research include:

    • Enhance sustainability and profitability by providing a cost-effective, locally sourced soil amendment for nursery and vegetable crops, and mushroom substrate for growers.
    • Decrease the amount of spent coffee grounds going into landfills by developing research-based data to support composted spent coffee grounds as an agricultural and horticultural commodity.
    • Provide consumers access to vegetables/mushrooms with higher-than-average nutritional benefits.
    • Increase marketability and expand consumption of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Develop research-based data to establish composted spent coffee grounds as a viable soil amendment/substrate and peat substitute for mushrooms, spinach, pepper, basil, and nasturtium, creating more sustainable and cost-effective practices.
    • Improve competitiveness of mushrooms, spinach, pepper, basil and nasturtium by enhancing their nutritional properties, yields, and marketability without increasing economic inputs.
    • Partner with the relevant stakeholders to implement the use of composted spent coffee grounds in sustainable agricultural production systems.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.