The reusable coffee capsule that takes the hassle out of refills

·2-min read

Tired of throwing out used coffee capsules? Two French engineering students have tapped into the trend for reusable coffee capsules, taking the concept one step further with an entire kit containing coffee, zero waste capsules and a coffee storage and loading device. And, the inventors also boast that it's all made in France.

Do you do a 'George Clooney' when you get into the office, dropping a capsule into a Nespresso machine to get your morning coffee hit? They may be quick and convenient, but capsule coffee systems create a huge amount of waste. Each year, some 20 billion individual coffee capsules are used and discarded worldwide.

Two French engineering students and hands-on handymen, Thibaut de Louvet and Jean de Boisredon, set about thinking of ways to tackle the problem. "We love designing and building things: Thibaut has already built an electric skateboard and a milling machine. For my part, I got into repairing mopeds and designing [other things]. When we got to engineering school, we started thinking together about the case of coffee capsules, which are both disastrous for the environment and expensive for students to buy. We looked at how to go about solving those two problems," Jean de Boisredon told ETX Studio.

The pair came to the conclusion that pollution created by waste capsules could be easily reduced by opting for a reusable model. This led them to design  Caps Me, a system of reusable, zero-waste capsules that work similarly to those made by the famous Nespresso brand.

Here, the difference is that consumers fill capsules themselves by inserting them into a specially designed coffee container which loads the capsules with coffee. Users then add a seal to the capsule before dropping it into their coffee machine. 

"With design software and a 3D printer, we started to build a system for reusing coffee capsules in a simple way. It took more than 100 prototypes and over a year to get to our current product. Thankfully, the first lockdown freed up lots of time for us," explains Jean. 

While the idea isn't new (reusable capsules made from stainless steel and silicone have been on the market for several years), Caps Me promises highly competitive pricing for "equivalent quality of coffee." "Our reusable capsules work out at €0.10 [approx. US$0.12], because you only have to pay for the coffee and the seal," says Jean. The Caps Me co-founder also highlights the practical nature of the coffee container and loading device: "Reusable capsules on their own are such a nuisance to fill by hand that most users switch back to disposable capsules," say the inventors. 

Selling for €39, the first packs (1 coffee container/loading device + 4 reusable capsules + 250g of coffee + 100 seals) will be sent in time for Christmas to the first 200 people who place an order via the presale campaign, which starts November 9.