Your coffee habit is on notice. Swiss retail giant Migros says it is launching a proprietary coffeemaking system aimed at replacing single-use coffee pods.
Launching in Switzerland and France, Migros’ CoffeeB Coffee Balls were five years in the making. Designed to replace single-serve plastic coffee pods, they are encased in a thin protective layer that doesn’t dissolve during the brewing process. It is fully compostable in about four weeks and will decompose in most home composting systems.
That compostable layer is made from a seaweed-derived material that the company says is tasteless and colorless.
CoffeeB is not the first company to look to seaweed and algae packaging to solve the single-use problem.
In 2017, Skipping Rocks Lab debuted the Ooho water pod—an algal membrane-coated sphere delivery mechanism to replace bottled water. The product created a buzz—2019 London marathoners were treated to the pods.
“We believe that our no-capsule system is the future of portioned coffee and that regular aluminum and plastic capsule systems will be phased out over time,” Frank Wilde, head of CoffeeB and former Nespresso executive told Daily Coffee News.
“The reason is simple: CoffeeB solves the capsule waste problem, and tastes just as good as traditional capsule coffee. The transition will however take time and, similar to the trend towards electric cars, a radical change won’t happen overnight,” Wilde says.
While they’re plastic-free, the new coffee balls do require their own machine, though. Called The Globe, it can brew one 5.3- to 5.9-gram ball of pure ground coffee, which is roasted by Swiss brand Café Royal.
“The Coffee Balls are only compatible with the Coffee B Globe machine since we had to develop a completely new brewing technology,” Caroline Siefarth, who led the company’s research and development process for CoffeeB, told Daily Coffee News. “It is a completely different system to existing coffee capsules.”
Like the Coffee Balls, the Globe machine is made from recycled materials and features a modular design to allow for parts replacement, unlike many conventional machines.