Bürotisch mit Kaffeetassen und -kannen in einem Softwareunternehmen.

Unrepentant coffee enjoyment in the software company: Which options are the most environmentally friendly?

Coffee is the fuel in the software industry. Many software practitioners drink a lot of coffee – even in disposable cups that are discarded after only a short use. But while we are worrying about the next update, improving the code or developing new features, we often forget that our coffee machines can also have an impact on the environment. The topic of sustainability should therefore not only be present on our computers and servers, but also in our break rooms .We’ll look at the different options such as filter coffee, automatic coffee makers, pods, capsules, portafilters, espresso makers, and yes, soluble coffee as well. We’ll look at which type of coffee maker produces the least waste and which raw materials are best used. So if you want to think about the environment in addition to your code, this article is for you.

Filter coffee

Let’s start with good old filter coffee. This method has been popular since Adam and Eve, and has the advantage of being relatively simple and inexpensive. The coffee is brewed in a paper or cloth filter and then ends up in a pot or cup. Very convenient when you need a lot of coffee at once, such as during meetings. But what about sustainability?

In terms of raw materials, filter coffee is a good choice. Coffee beans can be grown in a sustainable way, and paper filters can be made from recycled paper. However, it is important to note that the manufacturing process of paper filters requires a lot of energy and water. For this reason, some experts recommend using fabric filters, which can be reused and therefore generate less waste.

Filter coffee also performs well in terms of energy consumption. It is one of the most energy-efficient methods of making coffee. Only the energy consumption for the production of paper filters and the disposal of the coffee filter should be considered.

In terms of waste production, filter coffee is one of the best options. If you can compost or recycle the paper filter, there is hardly any waste. Even if you choose a cloth filter, it can be used for a long time before it needs to be replaced.

Use our tools for sustainable software

Our three tools help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and financial resources you need to develop sustainable software products and services that meet social, environmental, and economic needs. By using these tools, you can position yourself as a leader in sustainable software development and help create a better future for all.

Automatic coffee makers

Automatic coffee makers are a popular choice for fragrant lovers because they can deliver freshly ground coffee at the touch of a button. They can grind coffee beans and make fresh coffee from them by dispensing the coffee powder directly into the portafilter or into a coffee pot. They are sometimes referred to as “bean-to-cup” machines, as they perform the entire process from grinding the beans to making a cup of coffee automatically.

However, automatic coffee makers are often associated with sustainability issues. Some models use a lot of electricity, especially when they are running 24/7. In addition, there are concerns about the environmental impact of manufacturing and disposing of the machines, including the use of plastic and other unsustainable materials. However, there are positives to be highlighted at this point: Many models have made significant strides in energy efficiency in recent years and are equipped with features that can reduce power consumption. Some machines have automatic shut-off functions or can be programmed to be active only during certain times.

Another benefit of fully automatic coffee machines is that they can reduce the consumption of coffee capsules and pods, which are often sold in disposable plastic or aluminum packaging. By grinding whole coffee beans, fully automatic coffee machines can help reduce waste and minimize the need for disposable packaging.

Finally, using a fully automatic coffee machine can also help promote sustainability by selecting high-quality coffee beans from sustainable growing and fair trade sources. Some manufacturers even offer special coffees produced according to strict sustainability criteria.


Another way to prepare coffee are coffee pods. These small pods have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer a quick and easy way to prepare a cup of coffee.

An important factor with coffee pods is the packaging. The pods themselves are often packaged in plastic, which is difficult to recycle and in many cases ends up in landfills. However, there are some manufacturers that offer paper packaging or even reusable pods that can be filled with loose coffee. Disposing of the used pods is also a problem, as they are not recyclable and often end up in landfills.

Another problem with coffee pods is the energy consumption of the machine. Unlike a regular filter coffee machine, which only filters hot water through the coffee, pad machines often require more energy to force the water through the pad. Again, however, there are some manufacturers that offer energy-efficient machines.

In terms of raw materials, coffee pods are often made from aluminum or plastic, making them unsustainable. The production of these materials requires a lot of energy and disposal is often problematic. However, there are also biodegradable pods that can be made from sustainable materials such as paper or vegetable matter.


Coffee capsules are another option for making a cup of coffee quickly and easily. Unfortunately, however, they are one of the worst options in terms of sustainability. Most capsules are made of aluminum or plastic and are often difficult or even impossible to recycle. As a result, they end up in landfills or in nature, polluting the environment.

Another problem with coffee capsules is the high energy consumption during production. The production of capsules requires a lot of energy and raw materials such as aluminum and plastic are not sustainable. The transportation of the capsules also generates a lot of CO2 emissions, as they are often imported from far away places.

In addition, coffee capsules often have the problem of incompatibility with different machines. Some manufacturers produce capsules that only work in their own machines, which means consumers are often forced to buy the same capsules over and over again. This increases waste and energy consumption.

However, there are some manufacturers that offer more environmentally friendly capsules. Some are made from biodegradable materials such as wood fiber, corn starch or sugar cane, making them compostable. There are also capsules made from recycled aluminum that can reduce waste.

Portafilter machines

Portafilter machines are a popular choice for fragrant lovers who value quality and taste. In terms of sustainability, portafilter machines have both advantages and disadvantages.

One major advantage of portafilter machines is that they tend to be durable. They can last for many years and don’t need to be replaced as often as other types of coffee machines. This saves energy and reduces waste. Also, the ability to buy coffee beans in bulk reduces packaging waste.

Another advantage of portafilter machines is that they can produce higher quality coffee. By using freshly ground beans and a higher water temperature, a better aroma and taste can be achieved. This can help users drink less coffee, as they can get more satisfaction out of a single cup.

However, portafilter machines also have drawbacks. They often require more energy than other coffee makers to bring the water up to the required temperature. Grinding the beans also requires additional energy and can be noisy. In addition, disposing of the bean residue is often a problem, as it cannot be easily composted.

Overall, portafilter machines are a good choice for fragrant lovers who value quality and taste. They are durable and can produce higher quality coffee. However, be sure to reduce energy consumption and properly dispose of bean residue.

Espresso maker

A good option is espresso kettles, which have a lower environmental impact compared to other machines. Espresso kettles are usually made of durable materials and have a long life. In addition, they do not require electricity as they run on the stove. Coffee consumption is also low compared to other machines. However, there are some disadvantages here as well, such as the use of aluminum or stainless steel, which are not always produced sustainably. Disposing of the coffee grounds can also be problematic, as they cannot be disposed of in the organic waste garbage can. To dispose of the coffee grounds in an environmentally friendly way, they can be used as fertilizer in the garden.

Soluble coffee

Soluble coffee is an alternative that is often underestimated – when it comes to sustainability! We will leave the taste aside at this point. Unlike coffee pods or capsules, no special machine is needed, which reduces energy consumption. The packaging is also often much smaller and therefore more environmentally friendly than with other types of coffee.

However, the disadvantages should not be overlooked here. For example, soluble coffee often consists of lower-quality raw materials, some of which are imported from distant countries. Processing is also often more complex, which in turn consumes energy and resources. In addition, many soluble coffees still come in plastic packaging that cannot be recycled.

Nevertheless, soluble coffee can be a good alternative when it comes to sustainability. Especially for companies that need large quantities of coffee, it can be a way to reduce their environmental footprint. But soluble coffee can also be a good option for private use if you want to pay attention to an environmentally friendly way of preparation.


Overall, there are several factors to consider when choosing a coffee maker that affect sustainability. There is no perfect system, but some are better than others. In terms of sustainability, filter coffee, automatic coffee makers, espresso makers and soluble coffee perform the best as they do not require dedicated coffee machines and create less waste and energy consumption. Coffee pods and capsules should be avoided as they produce a large amount of waste and energy consumption. When it comes to quality, portafilter machines offer the best option, but they also require more energy and raw materials. It is important to be aware of the impact our choices can have on the environment and try to choose the most sustainable options when using coffee machines.