Coffee Balls – The Alternative to Coffee Capsules

With the advent of new methods of brewing coffee, you will soon no longer need to rely on coffee capsules to brew a drink quickly and easily.

That’s because an innovative system of compostable coffee balls was developed in Switzerland.

What are coffee balls?

To talk about coffee balls, we must first go back to the invention of coffee capsules, also developed by the Swiss, which appeared in the mid-80s.

A few years later, the Swiss company Migros developed and patented a new way of packaging coffee and achieving faster preparation.

The pressed coffee balls are covered with a coat of algae that protects them from loss of taste. So that means changing the methods for easy and quick coffee preparation to a new alternative. These coffee balls are marketed under the CoffeeB name.

Compostable coffee balls

  • Since the algae layer serves as protection, it is not consumed and remains in the used coffee ball after preparation. The coffee ball, its “shell” and the coffee itself are compostable.
  • This ensures that these coffee balls are compostable. This makes it a fully biodegradable alternative to the so-called “biodegradable” capsules, which still contain plastics.
  • CoffeeB says they call it “drinking coffee sustainably with compostable coffee capsules”. They call it a reduction in coffee consumption themselves. Coffee Balls offers a low-waste alternative to traditional coffee capsules.
  • Due to the constant pursuit of sustainability, CoffeeB’s coffee is also certified in terms of sustainability, with labels such as Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or the European Union Organic Label and other labels related to sustainability.

This is how the coffee balls work

  • The coffee balls were specially designed for the CoffeeB Globe machine developed. Each coffee sphere consists of compressed, ground coffee beans encapsulated in an outer shell of seaweed, as described above.
  • The mixture and the type of roast are laser engraved into the bowl, which makes it food-safe.
  • Coffee spheres should be stored dry at room temperature or in the refrigerator, each sphere should be good for up to three months after opening the package.
  • After inserting the ball into the Globe machine, the coffee ball is first moistened with water to soften the coffee packed inside.
  • The machine then perforates the outer shell, injecting more water and applying pressure to the coffee ball. The extracted coffee is then brewed at a pressure of 7 to 12 bar (102 to 174 psi).

The CoffeeB Globe machine

The CoffeeB Globe machine can be called “ecological system”. The model of the coffee maker is partly made from recycled materials, 34% for the black machine and 15% for the white machine (yes, there are two different models, and not only the color is different).

According to Medium Decepas, the CoffeeB machine is modular and easy to repair: the percolator, pump, nozzle, heating system and electronics can all be replaced separately.

The coffee maker is equipped with a coffee ball dispenser, which is located on top of the machine, has a capacity of 9 capsules and releases a coffee ball, which then slides naturally into the coffee ball hole.

After inserting the coffee ball through the coffee ball hole, simply operate the side lever for the extraction process and choose the size of espresso cup (20ml) or long coffee (110ml). These sizes must be set using the appropriate key combination, which is described in the user manual.

“Our goal was to create a more sustainable coffee experience without sacrificing the convenience of capsules. CoffeeB did just that. You can continue to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee, but with a clearer conscience,” says Frank Wilde, Head of CoffeeB.

“The process has not always been easy, but the vision of developing a completely waste-free capsule system has always been strong. CoffeeB is the most important product innovation in the history of Migros”.

Curiosities of the CoffeeB Globe   

  • It is important to mention that the machine is partly made from recycled materials.
  • The worldwide availability of the machine is not yet certain, initially it will be sold in countries such as Switzerland and France. The Globe machine is said to sell for 169 Swiss francs ($171.50), but it would come with a pack of nine coffee balls for 4.60 Swiss francs ($4.67).
  • The launch of the Coffee Balls and Globe Machine in the US has not yet been confirmed.
  • As well as massively reducing waste such as aluminum and plastic, CoffeeB uses less coffee per cup compared to an automatic coffee maker, resulting in a 40% reduction in carbon footprint.

The CoffeeB Coffee Shop

The coffee capsule was invented in Switzerland in 1976. An ingenious innovation whose success has increasingly become a global environmental issue. Billions of capsules end up in the trash every year. And so, around 40 years later, a revolutionary new idea was born in Switzerland: the most sustainable capsule system in history, without a capsule.

“Developing a capsule system without a capsule sound to me like landing on the moon without going to the moon. It’s actually impossible,” says one team member.

But researchers and developers know that many things seem impossible until you do them. And so, a team develops ideas, experiments with a variety of ingredients and technologies.

Later, they meet three engineers who have a new idea for a capsule-free system, which they optimize together.

A few years later the time has come. The 100% compostable coffee ball is here. It preserves its aroma thanks to a thin protective layer of natural origin.

The best types of coffee, Café Royal’s many years of roasting experience and the finely tuned blends guarantee maximum coffee enjoyment.

“The simplicity of the coffee ball hardly gives an idea of how much inventiveness, teamwork and courage are behind it”. And also how many failed attempts: “We try countless things, we fail countless times, we get up and try new things again and again”, says a member of the team.

Introduction of the coffee balls

On September 6, 2022, Migros boss Fabrice Zumbrunnen CoffeeB to the public. CoffeeB is initially available in Switzerland and France.


The Coffee Balls are a remarkably innovative idea to reduce the waste generated by coffee consumption, very few of which are recyclable.

However, the use of seagrass plantations and their impact on the environment should be considered. Nonetheless, it is an alternative.