Join Shroomok on Shroomok Buy me a coffee or Shroomok Discord or Shroomok Reddit
Category: Mushroom Growing Guide

Shroomok's choice on Amazon

Ground coffee substrate experiment with APE mushrooms

Using coffee grounds for magic mushrooms growing
Coffee substrate for mushroom growing

The story about growing Albino Penis Envy mushroom on coffee substrate

Hey Shroomok Community!

@D!ngo here — Magic Warrior of Shroomok Discord

I've been growing mushrooms for about a year now and have done some very interesting experiments along the way. The most recent my experiment was a coffee only inoculation, and I am very excited to share the results so far and the steps I took to make them happen.

How I came up with idea to make coffee substrate experiment

The reason I came up with the idea in the first place was because of the simple fact that I ran out of grain and while I was waiting for my order to arrive, I wanted to know if there was anything else in my house I could use for the time being.

I started researching normal household items that mushrooms love, and I came across this reddit post/photo

coffee substrate for mushrooms
Coffee substrate experiment on r/shrooms

Also I've found one article on medium "Using Coffee Grounds to Grow Magic Mushrooms" about possibilities of using coffee grounds as a substrate for growing magic mushrooms.

My interest in this peaked and I began looking for more information on it, but all I could find was articles on mixing coffee grounds with worm casings, cardboard, popcorn kernels and straw. With this I was convinced that I may not need any filler because I remembered the time I've seen mold patches grow on coffee itself, and if mushrooms loved the properties of coffee, then what harm could be done?

List of stuff I used

🔸 The main ingredient I used for this experiment is 1 cup of coffee grounds (I used Folgers Colombian medium blend)

🔸 Coffee maker and clean drinking water (for pasteurization and acid lowering process)

coffee maker
Coffee maker


🔸 Wide mouth mason jars and modified lids with air filter and injection port mentioned on Shroomok website in the section DIY Spawn Jars and Bags

Mason jars and modified lids with air filter and inoculation port
Mason jars and modified lids with air filter and inoculation port

🔸 Pressure cooker for coffee substrate sterilization

Pressure cooker or instant pot for coffee substrate sterilization
Pressure cooker or instant pot for coffee substrate sterilization

🔸 Still Air Box (SAB) for more sterile inoculation process and colonized agar plate with Albino Penis Envy strain. You can use a liquid culture or spore syringe, but it takes longer to show signs of growth with how dark coffee is

SAB with agar plate and coffee substrate ready for inoculation
Still air box with agar plate and coffee substrate ready for inoculation

Ready! Let's go 🚀

How I prepared coffee substrate for mushroom growing step by step

Step 1. The first step I did was get all my materials together, then brewed some coffee for substrate and for coffee break ☕️

Brew coffee in coffee maker to get coffee substrate for mushroom growing
Brew coffee in coffee maker to get spent coffee grounds for substrate

The reasons for brewing first is because coffee grounds are initially too acidic for mushrooms to grow on, and the brewing process cuts down on the acid as well as hydrates the grounds and pasteurizes them.

I used a big pot and filled the water up to make 12 cups ☕️

Step 2. Fill mason jars with spent coffee grounds and close with modified lids

Jar with coffee substrate
Jar with coffee substrate ready for sterilization in PC

Step 3. Cover the lid with foil, fill PC with water for further pressure cooking spent coffee grounds

Jar with coffee substrate in pressure cooker for sterilization
Jar with coffee substrate in PC

I prefer to do this part right after brewing to cut down on chances of contamination. I've seen you can just use the grounds directly after brewing because its already pasteurized, but since coffee is known to be more prone to contamination, I wouldn't take any chances and be sure to pressure cook for at least 45 minutes. I made sure to loosely pack the jar

Coffee substrate sterilization in PC
Coffee substrate sterilization in pressure cooker or instant pot

Step 4. The fourth step I took was to let the jar cool and put it in the SAB along with agar plate and scalpel. Let the air sit for a few minutes after closing the lid

SAB with agar plate and coffee substrate ready for inoculation
Still air box with agar plate and coffee substrate ready for inoculation

Step 5. When everything is ready, cut wedge from plate, drop into coffee grounds and close the lid. I normally give the jar a little shake to move the agar closer to the middle of the jar.

Check out the process in my video: Coffee substrate inoculation with Mycelium on Agar in Still Air Box

Colonization period and progress on the way

I've noticed that at first it looked like the mycelium was dead or just not there at all because of how dark the coffee is. After about 4 days I noticed the mycelium came back and was really white and fluffy.

As always, patience is key here!

Let's check the progress!

Here is 4 days after inoculation with agar

Albino penis envy mycelium on coffee substrate, 4 days since inoculation
Signs of APE mycelium on coffee substrate, 4 days since inoculation


Another side, same jar, 4 days after inoculation

APE mushroom growing on coffee, 4 days after inoculation
APE mycelium, 4 days after inoculation

Day 6 after inoculation

Coffee substrate colonization, 6 days after inoculation
APE on coffee, 6 days after inoculation

Active coffee substrate colonisation. Jar from the all sides and points of view

Day 19th after inoculation

Active coffee substrate colonization, 19 days after inoculation

Almost colonised at the bottom, 19 days after inoculation with agar

APE mycelium on coffee
Signs of APE mycelium at the bottom

Let's check jar from the sides (19 days after inoculation)

Mycelium colonisation from the sides
Mycelium colonisation from the sides

And one more from another angle

Coffee spawn

Let's wait for a few days more, to be sure that it is fully 100% colonised.

So far colonization step is totally successful, but experiment hasn't finished yet, because we need to get mushrooms.

I'm going to mix it with coco coir and vermiculite or CVG substrate, maybe I'll add casing to see what happens.

I'll keep you updated here. Stay tuned!

To be continued...

Robin

Do you use, used coffee grounds, right from the pot of done coffee? ❤

Shroomok avatar Shroomok

@Robin Yes, USED coffee grounds, right from the pot of done coffee!
Coffee grounds are initially too acidic for mushrooms to grow on, and the brewing process cuts down the acid.

Nick

How's this going in the CVG?

You might be interested

DIY Spawn jars & Spawn bags

STEP 4. How to prepare Spawn Jars and Spawn Bags by your own and save money. Spawn Jars types: autoclavable polypropylen...

Read more

Mar 2021

Read more
DIY Spawn jars & Spawn bags

Choose substrate for mushrooms

STEP 2. Overall guide about substrate types for mushroom growing. The difference between substrates: grain for spawn, bu...

Read more

Feb 2021

Read more
Choose substrate for mushrooms

Stuff to buy for growing

Check the list of required stuff for your first mushroom grow! Shopping list and necessary equipment for mushroom cultiv...

Read more

Feb 2021

Read more
Stuff to buy for growing

Liquid Culture

Liquid culture is a quick way to save and multiply mushroom mycelium. With this technique you can turn one syringe into...

Read more

May 2023

Read more
Liquid Culture

Flush #1. When and how to pick mushrooms

STEP 12. What is the best time for mushroom harvesting: before torn veil or after torn veil? Twist and pull or cut? Why...

Read more

May 2021

Read more
Flush #1. When and how to pick mushrooms

Recent publications

Load more publications