"The way you do one thing is the way you do everything."
This is a quote we often think about here at Snake River Roasting Co. Integrity, sustainability, and mindfulness are incredibly important to us, as is the environment, the people we work with and this beautiful community that supports us. So you can imagine that we had certain feelings about letting things that we use at the roaster just go to waste. We noticed that the materials we have in abundance after a day of roasting and shipping our coffee are burlap sacks, chaff, and coffee grinds. When considering what we could do with all of these items it felt a little bit like a difficult episode of Chopped! Where the contestants receive a basket of items that don't necessarily fit together but must be used for a cohesive purpose.
The three days of sunshine and warmer temperatures that we had here in Jackson made a significant impact on us, and instantly our creativity was flowing. We spent all of Saturday building raised garden beds and prepping soil with our materials! While the growing season in Jackson is a bit shorter than we would hope, we know that with the right preparation and effort we can grow an abundant garden. We want to show you how!
So what is chaff? Chaff is the flaky skin that comes off the coffee bean when it roasts. The majority of coffee drinkers have never even seen it because roasters dispose of it before you connect with your coffee. The skin of the coffee bean sheds as the coffee dries out. As you can imagine we are drowning in chaff and we have lots to give away. So how best can you use it in your own garden?
Chaff is an excellent additive to a compost pile. Mixed consistently with your compost pile, the chaff will dry out the pile and transform your compost into a high-quality soil for planting. We even mixed chaff directly into the soil we used for our raised garden bed because we heard a rumor that chaff supports the growth of vegetables!
Burlap sacks regularly used to transport coffee beans can also be used as a foundation for your raised garden bed or as a weed suppressant. We split one bag open and lined our garden bed with the flattened sack. Burlap sacks can also be used as stand-alone garden beds!
Coffee grinds are incredibly useful to add nitrogen to your soil. While we have mountains of used coffee grinds beside the roaster, you also have it available to you after your morning cup! You can add coffee grounds directly to the soil in your garden. In the past, we have found that the coffee grounds improved the water holding capacity of the soil and also acted as a weed and pest suppressant.
We suggest digging into some independent research about each of these garden supplements. If you are interested in picking up chaff, coffee grinds or burlap sacks from the roaster, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can arrange a convenient time for pick-up!
Until then, happy gardening!