"The coffee capsule was invented in Switzerland in 1976," writes Swiss company CoffeeB. But they're not boasting: "It was a brilliant innovation whose success has turned into a global environmental problem. Every year, billions of capsules are thrown away."
The company has thus developed the Coffee Ball, an orb of compressed coffee grinds encapsulated in a transparent, flavorless coating derived from seaweed. No ink is used; instead the name of the blend is etched into the surface of the capsule with a laser.
You drop a Coffee Ball into their CoffeeB Globe machine, and it works the same way as a regular capsule coffeemaker—except afterwards, you throw the spent ball in your garden or yard and it biodegrades. There's no aluminum or plastic involved.
And if the machine breaks, customers have some recourse; the Globe machine is designed to be repaired. "Thanks to their modular design, CoffeeB coffee machines can be repaired at our service centres. The individual components such as the brewing unit, electronics, pump, heater, and valve, can all be replaced easily and individually."
CoffeeB currently sells eight different blends in recyclable cardboard packages. Each package contains nine balls and runs less than 5 Swiss Francs (less than USD $5).
The machines cost 149 Swiss Francs (USD $151), and are currently available for purchase in Switzerland, France and Lichtenstein. "We are not yet set up to offer international shipping," the company writes, which is too bad; I imagine these would do well in the 'States.
Join over 240,000 designers who stay up-to-date with the Core77 newsletter.
Test it out; it only takes a single click to unsubscribe