(19)
(11)EP 3 197 822 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
21.11.2018 Bulletin 2018/47

(21)Application number: 15770517.9

(22)Date of filing:  25.09.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B67D 1/00  (2006.01)
A47J 31/40  (2006.01)
B67D 1/08  (2006.01)
B67D 1/12  (2006.01)
B67D 1/07  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2015/072145
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/046385 (31.03.2016 Gazette  2016/13)

(54)

METHOD OF DISPENSING A BEVERAGE WITH VARIABLE PRESSURE

VERFAHREN ZUR AUSGABE EINES GETRÄNKS MIT VARIABLEM DRUCK

PROCÉDÉ DE DISTRIBUTION D'UNE BOISSON À PRESSION VARIABLE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 26.09.2014 EP 14186698

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.08.2017 Bulletin 2017/31

(73)Proprietor: Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A.
1000 Brussels (BE)

(72)Inventor:
  • PELLAUD, Jerome
    New Rochelle, New York 10801 (US)

(74)Representative: BiiP cvba 
Culliganlaan 1B
1831 Diegem (Bruxelles)
1831 Diegem (Bruxelles) (BE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2011/151703
GB-A- 2 491 154
GB-A- 2 374 816
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a method of preparing and dispensing a beverage with a dispensing device.

    [0002] More in particular, the present invention relates to a method of preparing and dispensing a fermented beverage having a gas pressure of at least 1,5 bar at a temperature of 2°C.

    [0003] The document GB 2 135 898 A discloses a method according to the preamble of independent claim 1.

    [0004] At present there is a trend to fancier kinds of beverages, wherein multiple beverage components or beverages are added to one another so to provide a consumer with a sensation adapted to his taste.

    [0005] A goal of this invention is to provide a method of preparing and dispensing a beverage with a beverage dispensing device allowing consumers to prepare and serve such fancier beverages at home with one device with a small countertop footprint.

    [0006] According to the state of the art all kinds of beverage dispensing devices exist which allow for the dispensing of different types of beverages or beverage components, such as beverage dispensing devices for dispensing different types of coffees and teas possibly mixed with milk, cream or sugar and so on. Usually, the coffee or tea is made by passing hot water through coffee powder or tea leaves respectively.

    [0007] Other beverage dispensing devices are for example intended for dispensing all kinds of juices or sodas.

    [0008] It is clear that such beverage dispensing devices are of a complete other category than the type of beverage dispensing devices of interest in the present invention.

    [0009] Indeed, the dispensing of different types of beverages or beverage components wherein at least one of the one of said beverages or beverage components is a malt based beverage, a malt based beverage component, a cider or cider based component requires adapted equipment which is capable of coping with the specific needs related to malt based beverages or beverage components.

    [0010] For example when dispensing a malt based beverage or beverage component, it is important to control foaming of the concerned beverage or beverage component.

    [0011] Also, in beverage dispensing device having supply lines through which malt based beverages or malt based beverages are passed, a biofilm is slowly formed into the supply lines.

    [0012] This biofilm reduces the quality for as far as the taste and smell is concerned of the dispensed malt based beverages or beverage components through the supply lines and must therefore be very regularly removed by a thorough cleaning of the supply lines.

    [0013] Furthermore, the rate of dispensing, the pressures involved during dispensing and the volumes of liquid dispensed in beverage dispensing devices wherein at least one of the beverages or beverage components is a malt based beverage or a malt based beverage component are usually much higher than in the typical coffee machines or the like and require adapted equipment with increased capacity and strength.

    [0014] Apart from the above differences it is to be understood that some ingredients are easy to concentrate and can be concentrated with a high concentration factor without impact on the quality, other ingredients however are far more difficult to concentrate without use of quality.

    [0015] As a result, some ingredients can be loaded in a pod in very low levels (highly concentrated), whilst others can be loaded in a pod in only slightly concentrated form, resulting in a relative large volume.

    [0016] The volume ratio between cooled base liquid and ingredients originating from the pods or capsules is a critical factor for the temperature at which the final beverage can be dispensed, and unlike coffee or tea which are dispensed hot or unlike soft drinks having a high sugar content, a base liquid of a malt based beverage has a freezing temperature of approximately 0°C, while the ideal dispensing temperature is between 2 and 5°C. Hence the temperature with which the base liquid may warm during the mixing and dispensing of the beverage is very small and to amount of concentrated ingredient added to the base liquid should be as small as possible not to jeopardize dispensing a final beverage at a desired temperature.

    [0017] It is therefore an objective of this invention to overcome one or more of the above-mentioned drawbacks or possibly other non-mentioned drawbacks of the known methods of preparing and dispensing a beverage with beverage dispensing devices.

    [0018] The present invention addresses the above and other drawbacks and concerns a method of preparing and dispensing a beverage with a dispensing device, the device comprising:
    • a housing comprising a beverage unit with a liquid line having a liquid inlet at one end and a beverage outlet at an opposite end; a pressure controller controlling the pressure in the liquid line; and an ingredient container receiving means such that when correctly installed, the content of the ingredient container is in fluid communication with the liquid line for mixing the content of the ingredient container with a base liquid in the liquid line;
    • an ingredient container identification unit;
    • a processor coupled to the identification unit and to the pressure controller for controlling said pressure controller in function of the container identification; the method comprising the steps of:
      • providing an ingredient container in the device;
      • identifying the ingredient container;
      • providing a base liquid;
      • mixing the content of the container with the base liquid to prepare the beverage to be dispensed;
      • dispensing the thus prepared beverage;
      characterized in that the pressure in the liquid line changes from a first pressure level higher than ambient pressure level to a second pressure level higher than the ambient level by said pressure controller during mixing and dispensing of the beverage, the first pressure level being different than the second pressure level and in that beverage dispensed is a fermented beverage having a gas pressure of at least 1,5 bar at a temperature of 2°C.


    [0019] Preferably the pressure is maintained substantially constant at the first level during a fraction of the period needed for dispensing the beverage.

    [0020] More preferably the second pressure level is higher than the first pressure level, thus allowing flushing the liquid line at the end of the dispensing cycle, thereby cleaning the liquid line and preventing microbiological growth in the liquid line.

    [0021] Another advantage of increasing the pressure in the liquid line towards the end of the dispensing cycle it the ability to stimulate foam creation which is beneficial when dispensing a beer or beer like beverage.

    [0022] As such the method allows dispensing is a fermented beverage such as beer or cider having a gas pressure of at least 1,5 bar at a temperature of 2°C with a foam collar.

    [0023] With the intention of better showing the characteristics of the invention, hereafter, as example without any limitative character, some embodiments of a beverage dispensing device according to the invention are described, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    figure 1 is a schematic illustration of a first embodiment of a beverage dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;



    [0024] The beverage dispenser 1 illustrated in figure 1, is a beverage dispenser of the type addressed as a home appliance, which is typically designed for home use to dispense one beverage per dispense cycle and which is configured as a table top appliance meaning it has a restricted height of about maximum 50cm and a areal footprint of about maximum 2500 cm2.

    [0025] The beverage dispenser comprises a housing 2 comprising a base liquid inlet 3 which is connected to a source 4 of a first base liquid source 5.

    [0026] The dispenser beverage inlet 3 can for example be a pipe fitting which is suitable for connecting a source 4 to the beverage dispenser 1 or it can just be the inlet of a pipe or flexible tube used for flow of the base liquid 5 away from the source 4.

    [0027] The base liquid 5 can be any product that could be used for composing a beverage, such as for example water, a malt-based beverage, a fermented beverage, beer, a cider based beverage or cider, a juice, a soft drink, milk, cream, coffee, tea or mixtures thereof, the base liquid source can either be non-carbonated or carbonated.

    [0028] Depending on the type of the base liquid 5, the source 4 from which the base liquid 5 is supplied and in which the base liquid 5 is contained, can be for example a container, a plastic bag, a bottle, a keg or cask and so on.

    [0029] The source 4 can be a pressurized vessel, containing a pressurized gas for driving the base liquid 5 out of the vessel.

    [0030] In other cases the source 4 can comprise pumping means or separate gas bottles for that purpose.

    [0031] It is clear that all kinds of other commonly used elements, such as valves, switches, detectors, electronic or not electronic controller equipment in general are not represented in the drawings.

    [0032] The source 4 is in this case connected to the inlet 3 by means of a liquid line 6, formed for example by a flexible or rigid tube or pipe 6.

    [0033] Turning now to the housing of the dispensing device, the base liquid inlet is coupled to a liquid line extending from the base liquid inlet to a beverage outlet through which a final beverage is to be dispensed.

    [0034] The housing further comprises at least one container receiving means 7 for receiving an ingredient container 8 such as a pod or capsule comprising a unit dose of a beverage ingredient. The receiving means comprising an ingredient discharge 9 through which the unit dose contained in the pod or capsule can be discharged in the fluid line upon dispensing.

    [0035] The ingredient containers comprise exactly one unit dose of beverage ingredient and are therefore suited for preparing exactly one beverage allowing maximal flexibility to customize a beverage to be dispensed. The containers are preferably of the kind generally addressed as pods or capsules and will be referred to as such in the description below.

    [0036] The pods or capsules preferably comprise a solid or liquid ingredient, varying from hop concentrates, fruit concentrates, sweeteners, bittering additives, concentrated spices, foaming promoters, concentrated malt-based liquids, concentrated fermented liquids, concentrated beer, colorants and or mixtures thereof.

    [0037] In this case the liquid line comprises two sections, a first extending from the base liquid inlet to a liquid inlet of the receiving means for guiding base liquid into the pod or capsule such as to discharge the unit dose beverage ingredient through the beverage discharge into the second section of the liquid line extending from the ingredient discharge at the receiving means to a beverage outlet 10.

    [0038] At a location downstream the ingredient discharge, a mixing chamber 11 is provided in the liquid line, which mixing chamber comprises a wall defining a chamber having a liquid inlet and a liquid outlet, both controlled by a valve.

    [0039] According to the invention, the device comprises a pressure regulator for controlling the pressure in the liquid line. Such pressure regulator 12 can be provided at the source 4 or can be provided separately in the device. The pressure regulator should be controllable by means of a control unit 13 preferably an electronic unit comprising a microprocessor housed in the dispensing device.

    [0040] The device further comprises a pod or capsule comprising identification means 14 such as for example a bar-code scanner or RFID scanner that allows identifying content related identity tags on the pods or capsules such as a bar code or RFID tag 15.

    [0041] In this case the pressure regulator control unit also comprises a memory comprising a set of pre-loaded dispensing pressure level sequences for setting and varying the pressure in the liquid line during a dispensing cycle, whereby the microprocessor selects a sequence based on input received from the pod or capsule identification means and controls the pressure regulator accordingly.

    [0042] In order to allow a good control it is further preferred that the control unit comprises a flow meter allowing determining the volume of liquid flowing through the liquid line as an input to the microprocessor.

    [0043] The source of pressurized gas can either be a metal high pressure cartridge


    Claims

    1. Method of preparing and dispensing a beverage with a dispensing device (1), the device comprising:

    - a housing (2) comprising a beverage unit with a liquid line (6) having a liquid inlet (3) at one end and a beverage outlet (10) at an opposite end; a pressure controller (13) controlling the pressure in the liquid line; and an ingredient container receiving means (7) for receiving an ingredient container (8) such that when correctly installed, the content of the ingredient container (8) is in fluid communication with the liquid line (6) for mixing the content of the ingredient container (8) with a base liquid (5) in the liquid line (6);

    - an ingredient container identification unit (14) - a processor coupled to the identification unit (14) and to the pressure controller (13) for controlling said pressure controller in function of the container identification;

    the method comprising the steps of:

    - providing the container (8) in the device;

    - identifying the container (8);

    - providing a base liquid (5);

    - mixing the content of the container with the base liquid to prepare the beverage to be dispensed;

    - dispensing the thus prepared beverage;

    characterized in that the pressure in the liquid line (6) changes from a first pressure level higher than ambient pressure level to a second pressure level higher than the ambient level by said pressure controller during mixing and dispensing of the beverage, the first pressure level being different than the second pressure level and in that beverage dispensed is a fermented beverage having a gas pressure of at least 1,5 bar at a temperature of 2°C.
     
    2. Method according to claim 1, wherein the second pressure level is higher than the first pressure level.
     
    3. Method according to claim 1, wherein the beverage is a malt based beverage or apple juice based beverage.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zur Herstellung und Ausgabe eines Getränks mit einer Ausgabevorrichtung (1), wobei die Vorrichtung Folgendes umfasst:

    - ein Gehäuse (2), umfassend eine Getränkeeinheit mit einer Flüssigkeitsleitung (6), die einen Flüssigkeitseinlass (3) an einem Ende und einen Getränkeauslass (10) an einem entgegengesetzten Ende aufweist; eine Drucksteuerung (13), die den Druck in der Flüssigkeitsleitung steuert; und ein Bestandteilbehälter-Aufnahmemittel (7) zur Aufnahme eines Bestandteilbehälters (8), so dass, bei korrekter Installation, der Inhalt des Bestandteilbehälters (8) in Fluidkommunikation mit der Flüssigkeitsleitung (6) steht, um den Inhalt des Bestandteilbehälters (8) mit einer Basisflüssigkeit (5) in der Flüssigkeitsleitung (6) zu mischen;

    - eine Bestandteilbehälter-Identifikationseinheit (14),

    - einen Prozessor, der an die Identifikationseinheit (14) und die Drucksteuerung (13) gekoppelt ist, um die Drucksteuerung in Funktion der Behälteridentifikation zu steuern;
    wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    - Bereitstellen des Behälters (8) in der Vorrichtung;

    - Identifizieren des Behälters (8);

    - Bereitstellen einer Basisflüssigkeit (5);

    - Mischen des Inhalts des Behälters mit der Basisflüssigkeit, um das auszugebende Getränk zuzubereiten;

    - Ausgeben des so zubereiteten Getränks; dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sich der Druck in der Flüssigkeitsleitung (6) durch die Drucksteuerung während des Mischens und Ausgebens des Getränks von einem ersten Druckniveau, das höher ist als das Umgebungsdruckniveau, zu einem zweiten Druckniveau, das höher ist als das Umgebungsniveau, verändert, wobei das erste Druckniveau von dem zweiten Druckniveau verschieden ist, und dadurch, dass das ausgegebene Getränk ein fermentiertes Getränk mit einem Gasdruck von mindestens 1,5 bar bei einer Temperatur von 2 °C ist.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei das zweite Druckniveau höher ist als das erste Druckniveau.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Getränk ein Getränk auf Malzbasis oder ein Getränk auf Apfelsaftbasis ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de préparation et de distribution d'une boisson avec un dispositif de distribution (1), le dispositif comprenant :

    - un logement (2) comprenant une unité de boisson avec une ligne de liquide (6) ayant une entrée de liquide (3) à une extrémité et une sortie de boisson (10) à une extrémité opposée ; un contrôleur de pression (13) contrôlant la pression dans la ligne de liquide ; et un moyen de réception d'un récipient d'ingrédients (7) pour recevoir un récipient d'ingrédient (8) de sorte que, lorsqu'il est correctement installé, le contenu du récipient d'ingrédient (8) soit en communication fluidique avec la ligne de liquide (6) afin de mélanger le contenu du récipient d'ingrédient (8) avec un liquide de base (5) dans la ligne de liquide (6) ;

    - une unité d'identification du récipient d'ingrédient (14)

    - un processeur couplé à une unité d'identification (14) et au contrôleur de pression (13) pour contrôler ledit contrôleur de pression en fonction de l'identification du récipient ;
    le procédé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    - amener le récipient (8) dans le dispositif ;

    - identifier le récipient (8) ;

    - fournir un liquide de base (5) ;

    - mélanger le contenu du récipient avec le liquide de base pour préparer la boisson à distribuer ;

    - distribuer la boisson ainsi préparée ; caractérisé en ce que la pression dans la ligne de liquide (6) change d'un premier niveau de pression, supérieur au niveau de la pression ambiante à un second niveau de pression, supérieur au niveau ambiant par ledit contrôleur de pression pendant le mélange et la distribution de la boisson, le premier niveau de pression étant différent du second niveau de pression et en ce que la boisson distribuée est une boisson fermentée ayant une pression de gaz d'au moins 1,5 bar à une température de 2 °C.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le second niveau de pression est supérieur au premier niveau de pression.
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la boisson est une boisson à base de malt ou une boisson à base de jus de pomme.
     




    Drawing






    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description