Cupffee 1


According to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), humans produce 400 million tonnes of plastic yearly. About 36% of which is used as plastic packaging for food and beverage products.

More specifically, we throw away around 50 billion coffee cups per year. In spite of many cups claiming to be recyclable, a lot of them don’t end up in the recycling bins. Additionally, some are coated with plastic laminate on the inside to preserve the integrity of the shell. Is there a better way to dispose of coffee cups?

After realising how much waste is created in his hometown by bars and restaurants, Bulgaria-based entrepreneur Miroslav Zapryanov thought of replacing the classic single-use coffee cups with edible biodegradable cups. Since the 2014 launch of his company, Cupffee, many environmentally-conscious customers worldwide have supported the green innovation.

Zapryanov said that the idea of having edible coffee cups came to him in his early school years.

I was inspired by the fact that a green solution was urgently needed to combat the billions of plastic cups generated daily around the world. The Cupffee company was quickly recognised as a pioneer by other like-minded people and companies who helped us with our rapid growth and expansion.

Miroslav Zapryanov, CEO, Cupffee

It took Cupffee a few years to adjust the ingredients, modify the mix, the proportions and also the temperature. The results are the 110 ml and 220 ml cups, “which remain crunchy for up to 40 minutes, are made from natural oat bran and wheat flour, uncoated with chocolate or sugar, are just 56 or 105 kcal respectively and have a neutral taste.” (The concept reminds me of an edible ice cream cone – ed).

It was extremely important to us that the cup did not leak for hours as well as stay crunchy for at least 40 minutes. Another essential factor that we considered when creating Cupffee cups was the neutrality of their taste that should not alter the taste of the beverage inside.

Miroslav Zapryanov, CEO, Cupffee

However, like many startups, Cupffee is also challenged to meet a rapidly growing demand. To produce more edible coffee cups, the company partnered with Switzerland-based equipment manufacturer Bühler Technologies. The Bühler team in Sofia already contacted Zapryanov in 2016 “to let him know about […] specially modified moulded cones and cups solution that would enable Cupffee to produce on an industrial scale to meet its growing customer demand.” Cupffee has been using Bühler’s oven Franz Haas MTA-V since then for dough and the production line for edible cups.

Cupffee currently produces 3 million cups per month. With Bühler’s help, this number could double or triple in the next few years. Cupffee also plans to establish its own production line in Zapryanov’s hometown, Plovdiv.

Along with Bühler, Cupffee has a network of influential partners, such as Lavazza, which offers its espresso in “cookie cups” at certain events like Wimbledon. On Earth Day, Etihad Airways displayed its dedication to sustainability by serving coffee in Cupffee onboard. Lidl, a German retail giant, is likewise working on cutting back on plastic waste.


  • Ziga Povse


    Žiga Povše is a freelance writer, translator and a full-time coffee lover. After after visiting his girlfriend's family farm in Cerrado Mineiro, they opened an online store to sell Brazilian specialty coffee, and he remains an avid reader and a prolific writer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *