FROM CHAFF TO MUSHROOMS!

FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS WE'VE HAD OUR VERY OWN 'AMELIE' CYCLING DOWN TO THE ROASTERY AND COLLECTING CHAFF TO GROW MUSHROOMS! BELOW IS A VERY SWEET STORY FROM A VERY SWEET GIRL.

"From bean to coffee, to mushroom, to fertilizer, to bean, to coffee, to mushroom...

I always had a profound aversion to throwing stuff away without giving it at least a few thoughts on how it could be used for something else. Knowing that the mountains of rubbish are steadily growing is quite disturbing to me, naturally I am a huge fan of upcycling & recycling.

In my quest of finding such an occupation that would allow me to “save the world from drowning” I came across a brilliant way of reusing locally available waste material and creating something really delicious. I was so intrigued that I instantly started to research this matter in more depth. The more I read, the more fascinated I became with this little marvel of nature called Mushroom.

One thing lead to another and a year or so later, I found myself receiving professional training on cultivating mushrooms. Recently I've started to grow my own mushrooms on so-called waste products, in this case used coffee grounds and coffee bean chaff. Coffee chaff is the skin of the coffee bean which comes off during roasting. This method not only helps to reduce the landfills but the used coffee grounds turn out to be a very good source of nutrients, as there are lots of minerals left in it. Mushrooms are very good decomposers and they take out whatever they need from the substrate. Thus, the end product, the mushroom, is packed with protein and valuable minerals like zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins like B1, B2 and C.

I've had now quite a success with the first trial of Oyster mushrooms. I intend to continue my research and try out other mushroom strains to see how it works. At the moment I grow them on a micro scale at home, but my aim is to set up a mushroom farm in the city centre and spread these precious goodies all around Dublin.

Oh, did I mention that once the mushrooms are grown, the remaining waste product is an excellent fertilizer? And here the cycle is complete. From bean to coffee, to mushroom, to fertilizer, to bean, to coffee, to mushroom..."

Andreea Bolbotina