Turning waste coffee grounds into mugs

Germany (Berlin)

Drinking coffee out of cups made from coffee – so simple, so evident, so good. Kaffeeform is a sustainable material that aims to become an alternative to plastic cups.


It is unbelievable that trees are chopped down to wind up as cups that end up in the rubbish after just one single use, with its huge amount of production, processing and global distribution efforts.

Kaffeeform embraces the principle of circularity and saving resources by creating long-lasting products made with a byproduct that would otherwise go to waste. The Germany-based company offers sustainable coffee cups made of 40% coffee grounds, to which they add biopolymers, starch, cellulose, wood, natural resins, waxes and oils. They want to break the mould by finding new solutions and turning waste into a valued resource to form Kaffeeform products.

The reusable Weducer Cup is replacing disposable paper and plastic cups – with every single use. The design took inspiration from classic takeaway cups. The grooved surface is reminiscent of cardboard and strengthens insulation and grip.

It started with a simple but pretty innovative idea, to reuse and revalue an alleged worthless material, such as used coffee grounds, by creating something new out of it. Thus began the journey of product designer Julian Lechner: he started to experiment with coffee grounds and after three years, the ‘Kaffeeform Coffee Material’ was developed: a versatile material composition made from recycled coffee grounds and other plant-based, renewable resources. In 2015 Kaffeeform was born.

Julian Lechner with an Alphabet Weducer Cup

The classic coffee cups and the reusable Weducer Cup are a strong symbol for the new material and the underlying principle of a circular economy: drinking coffee out of cups made from coffee. You can reuse these unique coffee-based coffee mugs over and over again and even throw them in the dishwasher.

Kaffeeform is proud to create a new material composition that saves resources. “Even as a very small company we have turned more than 800,000 servings of coffee grounds into more than 150,000 cups so far, and numbers are rising”, says Anika Paulus, former Head of Communications for Kaffeeform. “Especially in the times of the pandemic, with single use, disposable packaging and cups mounting up drastically, we are proud to offer a product that works against that trend, with every single use.”

Kaffeeform produces socially and locally in Germany, in close collaboration with an independent bike messenger collective and a workshop for people with disabilities.

“Everyone can start by creating a more sustainable personal life. By rethinking and changing consuming habits and making conscious buying decisions, by supporting sustainable brands, by choosing reusable over single-use products, by changing the perspective on resources”, adds Anika. She says there will be more products created from coffee grounds in new shapes.

The new version of the best-selling Weducer Cup is available in 3 colors inspired by nature, and comes in a new innovative material composition using recycled beechwood fibers. Is it really rubbish, or is it a treasure?

AtlasAction: Buy your mug or give one as a gift. It’s the ideal present for sustainability and design-loving coffee people.

Written by

Oscar Marin, Atlas of the Future (22 March 2021)

Project leader

Julian Lechner, Founder

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