by Alyssa Vera |

When word spread that Brookhaven Town was helping transport spent brewery byproduct across the town for farm animals, local business owners Brian Lentini and Michael Troast knew they wanted in.

But there was one issue: They don’t run a brewery.

Lentini and Troast are master coffee roasters at Ace Coffee Co. in East Patchogue, but figured their spent coffee grounds could be a part of the town-wide sustainability movement.

The men reached out to town officials soonafter learning about the Brew to Moo initiative between craft breweries and a Manorville farm.

The town jumped on board, and “Coffee Grounds for Compost” was born.

The town is now transporting the Ace Coffee grounds to Hamlet Organic Garden (HOG) Farm in Brookhaven Hamlet on a weekly basis, it was announced late last month.

So far, the company has donated a little over two tons of coffee grounds since partnering with the town.

Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine says the town is interested in taking all sorts of useful waste on a commercial, so that business owners don’t have to pay to dispose of their material.

“I want to see us reduce the amount of waste products that we produce and I’m going to do everything I can as supervisor to make sure that happens,” Romaine said. 

When asked why the town thought a compost investment was worth the effort, Romaine explained that “adding the coffee grounds to existing piles speeds up the process of heating.”

Heat allows the soil to maintain its moisture. And that’s a quality highly sought after by Sean Pilger, the owner of the HOG Farm.

“The soil at the farm is pretty sandy and thin. You can’t get big clay chunks out of the soil here,” Pilger said. 

With the Ace Coffee Co.’s coffee grind donations, the HOG Farm is able to create really healthy soil which, in turn, will grow really healthy crops, Pilger said.

“The good thing about the coffee grounds is that its high in nitrogen, which helps the horse manure break down because the horse manure is carbon … so you have to have the right carbon nitrogen balance to get good compost,” Pilger said.

So, the collaboration between Ace Coffee, the HOG Farm, and the new “Coffee Grounds to Compost” program helps keep the 18 acres of farmland fertile, and the environment green.

“Nothing has to necessarily be thrown away if we can find a use for it, and that’s what we are doing,” Romaine said.

“My partner and I were donating our coffee grounds to HOG Farms before we joined the town, only we were driving [the coffee grounds] over there ourselves” Lentini said. “The town was so happy that we contacted them, and we’re happy to give back.”

Lentini said Ace Coffee Co. specializes in the production of organic coffee, which they say is well-suited for a farm like Hamlet Organic Garden.

“We’re as fresh as possible,” he said. We don’t use any additives, we don’t include sugar and there are no preservatives in our cold brew.”

“Wasteful” was the word Lentini used when describing what it was like to throw good, organic coffee grounds in a dumpster.

“I’d always feel horrible that I wasted something that could still be used. It was actually bad on my wallet to fill up a dumpster that didn’t need to be filled,” he said.

Top: Brian Lentini of Ace Coffee Co., located off East Main Street in East Patchogue. (Credit: Alyssa Vera)

Sean Pilger (R) at the Hamlet Organic Garden, or HOG Farm, in Brookhaven Hamlet. (Credit: Alyssa Vera)

Shoppers at the farm stand at the HOG Farm in Brookhaven. (Credit: Alyssa Vera)