As single-serve coffee is becoming more widely used, many companies are also looking for ways to make it sustainable. One of them is the Swiss company Migros, which recently launched its latest product, CoffeeB, a machine that uses small balls of pressed coffee instead of capsules.

Rather than making coffee beverages out of coffee stored in aluminium capsules, CoffeeB utilises Coffee Balls wrapped in a layer of seaweed that the company claims are tasteless. Moreover, this fully compostable layer gives the Coffee Ball its form and protects it from losing its flavour. Migros’ innovation is patented worldwide by its subsidiary Delica. Sushi fans will already be familiar with this technique of binding food elements with seaweed.

The machine itself takes up minimal energy and shuts off on its own after only one minute. It can also be fixed at any Migros service centre if it develops issues.

The next generation of capsule coffee is here, and it comes without a capsule. After half a decade of research, we’ve created CoffeeB, which will revolutionise the way the world drinks single-serve coffee.

Dr. Caroline Siefarth, CoffeeB

Dr Siefarth added that 274 tonnes of coffee capsule waste are produced globally on a daily basis. The company asserts that it is transforming an industry that is plagued by massive waste and capsule coffee consumers who produce tonnes of trash worldwide each year. Aluminium and plastic casing are the biggest problems in the capsule system, and by taking them out of the equation, CoffeeB will be able to make the single-serve coffee industry more sustainable and zero-waste.

One negative aspect of CoffeeB machines is exactly this: they are machines. Although the Coffee Balls are wrapped in a flavourless layer of seaweed, customers will still have to buy the machines, which might end up in the landfill if the CoffeeB system isn’t successful.

Sustainability and recyclability have long been unsolved parts of the puzzle for coffee companies. As Switzerland’s largest retailer, supermarket and employer, Migros have the financial capacity to challenge the traditional practices in the coffee industry and hopefully make the step in the right direction to offer the industry an acceptable solution.

The machine is currently available for purchase on Migros’ website for Fr. 149 (circa US$155), with 9 Coffee Ball sets being sold at Fr. 4.60 (circa US$4.8).

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