A Migros brand reinvents coffee capsules as biodegradable coffee balls

Hugely popular for their ease of use, single-serve coffee capsules and pods sell by the billions. While theoretically recyclable, most aren't and end up in the trash, creating tons of unnecessary aluminum and plastic waste. Now, a Swiss brand has come up with a more sustainable alternative: coffee balls.

CoffeeB's small spheres are made of ground beans wrapped in a protective plant and mineral coating that keeps the coffee fresh and preserves its aroma for three months after a pack is opened. The balls are dropped into a coffee maker that works like a standard capsule machine. But once a lungo or espresso has been brewed, what's left can be garden-composted or added to potted plants as fertilizer, breaking down within weeks in damp soil.

Hand crushing a used coffee ball in a plant container

CoffeeB was developed by a subsidiary of Swiss retailer Migros and just launched in Switzerland and France, with Germany to follow in Q2 2023. Machines retail at CHF 169/EUR 179, with coffee balls at CHF 4.95/EUR 3.69 for a pack of nine organic espresso servings. All of the brand's roast all carry sustainable certification, either Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or organic, and the machine was designed to be easily repaired.

Trend Bite

When it comes down to it, the most environmentally responsible way to brew coffee is with a French press: minimal packaging, no filters, no power other than for boiling water. But single-serve options have become second nature to many, and with coffee as with many other purchases, the realistic path to sustainability will be a middle road between convenience and conscious consumerism.

CoffeeB follows a trend we've dubbed SOLACE AS A SERVICE. For conflicted shoppers, there's a growing tension between purchase and purpose. Your brand's call to action? Soothe their struggle and offer convenience without the culpability.

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom

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