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Coffeemaker repurposes used grounds to grow fresh mushrooms
As it turns out, the concept of using spent coffee grounds as a substrate for mushroom farming isn’t new. The used grounds—an abundant resource in university districts, creative urban centers, and in pretty much every American household—are basically the perfect material for growing mushrooms. Coffee grounds from cafés are ideal, because the forced steam of espresso machines sterilizes the grounds, but many a casual mushroom farmer has been successful using home-brewed grounds as well.
So, how does this all-in-one coffeemaker and mushroom planter work? The top of the HIFA unit houses the coffee brewing portion of the device, which is not unlike a French press. Grounds are placed in the carafe, followed by just off-boil water, allowed to steep (many say three minutes is the golden time limit), and then a mesh strainer is plunged down into the carafe to separate the soaked grounds from the divine java. The double-walled carafe can be lifted off the base for pouring, leaving behind the used coffee grounds in a little yellow cup.
The coffee aficionado/mushroom farmer then pours the used grounds into the divided lower portion of the unit. Add a little mycelium (think “mushroom roots”), spray periodically with water, and watch and wait for tiny mushroom caps to appear. The cultivation of mushrooms in the HIFA system is very similar to other mushroom-growing kits, which often come preloaded with mycelium.
Because the HIFA unit fills the mushroom planter from the bottom up, it could be used as a potentially endless source of edible fungus. When the substrate compartment is full, used grounds could simply be redirected to other destinations, such as a compost pile or outdoor garden beds.
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