Published 1 year ago.
About a 3 minute read.
The inventive, waste-free, single-serve coffee system means that portioned coffee no longer needs to be surrounded by an aluminum or plastic capsule.
Today, Swiss retail giant Migros has launched
CoffeeB — a new, capsule-less Coffee Ball that
could potentially stir up the single-serve coffee market.
The Coffee Ball is part of a first-of-its-kind, zero-waste system that brews
coffee without the need for plastic capsules.
Plastic coffee pods produce 100,000 tons of waste
per year; and while some of the pods in the marketplace are
the majority still end up in landfill.
“The next generation of capsule coffee is here, and it comes without a capsule,”
says CoffeeB’s Dr. Caroline Siefarth, who co-developed the system. “After
half a decade of research, we’ve created CoffeeB — which will revolutionize the
way the world drinks single-serve coffee.”
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The first coffee capsule — also invented by the Swiss — hit the shelves in 1986;
36 years later, after five years of development, Migros — Switzerland’s largest
retailer — has designed and patented a brand-new way to package portioned
coffee. The compressed Coffee Balls are encased in a tasteless, colorless,
seaweed-based coating that gives it structure and protects it from flavor loss —
completely eliminating the need for traditional capsule casing. In blind taste
tests, CoffeeB has performed as well as conventional coffee capsules.
The thin, plant-based protective cover isn’t consumed and remains on the ball of
used coffee after brewing. The whole Coffee Ball — casing and coffee — is fully
garden compostable (the company says they decompose into valuable
four weeks). In contrast, biodegradable capsules are still made of plastic —
which can take months, if not years, to fully decompose.
“274 tons of coffee capsule waste is produced globally every single day. By
taking the plastic and aluminium casing out of the equation, our fully
plant-based Coffee Ball helps eliminate one of the biggest concerns with capsule
coffee — waste,” Siefarth says. “Consumers continue to become more
and CoffeeB wants to be the catalyst that changes the way we drink coffee, for
the good of the planet.”
And while CoffeeB requires its own machine and isn’t compatible with the
now-ubiquitous single-serve coffeemakers proliferating the market, the company
believes that the ‘no-capsule system’ is the future and will replace traditional
capsule systems over time, becoming the industry standard.
CoffeeB has designed its trademark Globe coffee machine, a single-serve brewing
system designed specifically for the Coffee Balls.
The machine is also sustainable — it’s made partly from recycled materials and
is easily repairable in a bid to further reduce e-waste. It has a modular design
so that individual components can be replaced as required. The machine’s
packaging is also fully recyclable; and the machine boasts an A+ energy-saving
"We aimed to create a more sustainable coffee experience without having to
sacrifice the convenience of capsules. CoffeeB has done just that. You can still
enjoy your favourite cup of coffee, but with a cleaner conscience,” says Frank
Wilde, Head of CoffeeB. “The process has not always been smooth sailing, but
the vision of developing a completely waste-free capsule system was always
stronger. CoffeeB is the single most significant product innovation in Migros’
As well as a massive reduction in aluminium and plastic waste, CoffeeB uses far
less coffee per cup compared to a fully automatic machine, cafetiere or filter
coffee — meaning a 40 percent reduction in carbon footprint.
The beans selected for the Coffee Balls are also sustainably sourced and are
either Rainforest Alliance certified or organic and fairtrade. CoffeeB has
initially released eight blends, to cater to a
variety of tastes.
The US launch of Coffee Balls and Globe Machine is yet to be confirmed. A pack
of nine Coffee Balls (which also comes in recyclable, cardboard packaging) will
retail in Switzerland from CHF 4.60 ( ~~ US$5). The Globe machine — available
in black and white — will retail for CHF 169 (~~ US$176).
Published Sep 6, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST