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Title:
INFUSION PRODUCT AND METHOD OF MAKING AN INFUSION PRODUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/065343
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the infusion product comprising: a sheet-like matrix formed from fibres of a first plant material; particles of a second plant material embedded within the sheet-like matrix, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

Inventors:
VASHISTA VIJU (GB)
YON ALEXANDER ROBERT (GB)
FARRELL MARK DANIEL (GB)
SCHULLER TIMOTHY ADAM (GB)
HODGSON EMILY LOUISE (GB)
RYAN SAMANTHA ANNE (GB)
Application Number:
GB2019/052740
Publication Date:
April 02, 2020
Filing Date:
September 27, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PA KNOWLEDGE LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A23L2/395; A23F3/30; A23F3/32; A23F3/34; A23L19/00
Foreign References:
CN106900920A2017-06-30
US20130280320A12013-10-24
US20150374624A12015-12-31
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
J A KEMP (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the infusion product comprising:

a sheet-like matrix formed from fibres of a first plant material;

particles of a second plant material embedded within the sheet-like matrix, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

2. The infusion product of claim 1, wherein the ratio, by weight, of the first plant material to the second plant material is greater than 1.

3. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the particles of the second plant material are in a state in which the extract from the second plant material is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material.

4. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the first plant material is a different material from the second plant material.

5. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the fibres of the first plant material comprises at least one of: lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres.

6. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the second plant material comprises material from at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices.

7. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the first liquid is water.

8. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the sheet-like matrix comprises an extract from a third plant material.

9. The infusion product of claim 8, wherein the extract from the third plant material is obtained, or obtainable, by soaking the third plant material in a second liquid such that the extract from the third plant material infuses into the second liquid.

10. The infusion product of claim 9, wherein the sheet-like matrix is formed from fibres of the first plant material previously soaked in the second liquid infused with the extract from the first plant material.

11. The infusion product of claim 9 or 10, wherein the second liquid is water.

12. The infusion product of any one of claims 8 to 12, wherein the third plant material comprises at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices.

13. The infusion product of any one of claims 8 to 12, wherein the third plant material is the same material as the second plant material.

14. The infusion product of any preceding claim, wherein the sheet-like matrix further comprises a gelling agent.

15. The infusion product of claim 14, wherein the gelling agent is incorporated into the sheet-like matrix.

16. The infusion product of claim 14, wherein the gelling agent is a layer covering a surface of the sheet-like matrix and the particles of the second plant material embedded within the layer of gelling agent.

17. The infusion product of any one of claims 14 to 16, wherein the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

18. A method of making an infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the method comprising:

soaking fibres of a first plant material in a second liquid to form a pulp; mixing particles of a second plant material with the pulp, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage;

forming the pulp, with the particles mixed therein, into a sheet-like structure; drying the sheet-like structure.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein second liquid comprises an extract from a third plant material.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising a step of soaking the third plant material in the second liquid such that the extract from the third plant material infuses into the second liquid.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising a step of removing the third plant material from the second liquid, before soaking the fibres of the first plant material in the second liquid.

22. The method of any one of claims 19 to 21, wherein the third plant material is the same material as the second plant material.

23. The method of any one of claims 20 to 22, wherein the second liquid is water

24. The method of any one of claims 20 to 22, wherein the step of forming the pulp into a sheet-like structure comprises removing the pulp from the second liquid using a mesh screen.

25. The method of any one of claims 20 to 24, wherein the step of forming the pulp into a sheet-like structure comprises pressing the pulp.

26. The method of any one of claims 18 to 25, wherein the ratio, by weight, of the first plant material to the second plant material in the pulp is greater than 1.

27. The method of any one of claims 18 to 26, wherein the particles of the second plant material are mixed with the pulp in a state in which the extract from the second plant material is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material.

28. The method of any one of claims 18 to 27, wherein the method further comprises adding a gelling agent to the second liquid.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the gelling agent is added before mixing the particles of the second plant material with the pulp.

30. The method of claims 28 or 29 wherein the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

31. A method of making an infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the method comprising:

coating a sheet formed from fibres of a first plant material with a layer of gelling agent;

coating the layer of gelling agent with particles of a second plant material, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

33. The method of claim 31 or 32, further comprising pressing the particles of the second plant material into the layer of gelling agent.

34. The method of claim 31, 32 or 33, further comprising drying the sheet coated in the layer of gelling agent and the particles of the second pant material.

35. The method of any one of claims 18 to 34, wherein the first plant material is a different material from the second plant material.

36. The method of any one of claims 18 to 35, wherein the first plant material comprises at least one of: lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres.

37. The method of any one of claims 18 to 36, wherein the second plant material comprises material from at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices.

Description:
INFUSION PRODUCT AND METHOD OF MAKING AN INFUSION PRODUCT

The present invention relates to infusion products for making a beverage and methods of making infusion products. In one example, the invention relates to a sheet-like matrix embedded with tea.

A teabag is an example of an infusion product that can be soaked in water to make a beverage, i.e. tea. With approximately 165 million cups a day drank by the British alone, and 96% of this prepared using a tea bag, it is often a single use product which until recently was believed to be sustainable. However, a recent survey found that plastic fibre fragments still remained after teabags were composted. These were the remains of polypropylene (PP) fibres, which are woven into the cellulose filter paper sheets in order to provide a heat sealing capability. On average teabags are 70-80% paper fibres, and the rest is PP. This creates environmental problems.

It is an aim of the present disclosure to at least partially address the problems above.

A first aspect of the invention provides an infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the infusion product comprising: a sheet- like matrix formed from fibres of a first plant material; particles of a second plant material embedded within the sheet-like matrix, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

Optionally, the ratio, by weight, of the first plant material to the second plant material is greater than 1.

Optionally, the particles of the second plant material are in a state in which the extract from the second plant material is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material.

Optionally, the first plant material is a different material from the second plant material.

Optionally, the fibres of the first plant material comprises at least one of: lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres.

Optionally, the second plant material comprises material derived from at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices. Optionally, the first liquid is water.

Optionally, the sheet-like matrix comprises an extract from a third plant material. Optionally, the extract from the third plant material is obtained, or obtainable, by soaking the third plant material in a second liquid such that the extract from the third plant material infuses into the second liquid. Optionally, the sheet-like matrix is formed from fibres of the first plant material previously soaked in the second liquid infused with the extract from the first plant material. Optionally, the second liquid is water. Optionally, the third plant material comprises at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices. Optionally, the third plant material is the same material as the second plant material.

Optionally, the sheet-like matrix further comprises a gelling agent. Optionally, the gelling agent is incorporated into the sheet-like matrix. Alternatively, or additionally, the gelling agent is a layer covering a surface of the sheet-like matrix and the particles of the second plant material embedded within the layer of gelling agent. Optionally, the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

A second aspect of the invention provides a method of making an infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the method comprising: soaking fibres of a first plant material in a second liquid to form a pulp;

mixing particles of a second plant material with the pulp, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage; forming the pulp, with the particles mixed therein, into a sheet-like structure; drying the sheet-like structure.

Optionally, second liquid comprises an extract from a third plant material.

Optionally, the method further comprises a step of soaking the third plant material in the second liquid such that the extract from the third plant material infuses into the second liquid. Optionally, the method comprises a step of removing the third plant material from the second liquid, before soaking the fibres of the first plant material in the second liquid. Optionally, the third plant material is the same material as the second plant material.

Optionally, the second liquid is water.

Optionally, the step of forming the pulp into a sheet-like structure comprises removing the pulp from the second liquid using a mesh screen. Optionally, the step of forming the pulp into a sheet-like structure comprises pressing the pulp.

Optionally, the ratio, by weight, of the first plant material to the second plant material in the pulp is greater than 1.

Optionally, the particles of the second plant material are mixed with the pulp in a state in which the extract from the second plant material is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material.

Optionally, the method of the second aspect further comprises adding a gelling agent to the second liquid.

Optionally, the gelling agent is added before mixing the particles of the second plant material with the pulp.

Optionally, the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

A third aspect of the invention provides a method of making an infusion product for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a first liquid, the method

comprising: coating a sheet formed from fibres of a first plant material with a layer of gelling agent; coating the layer of gelling agent with particles of a second plant material, the particles being configured such that an extract from the second plant material infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

Optionally, the method of the third aspect further comprises pressing the particles of the second plant material into the layer of gelling agent.

Optionally, the method of the third aspect further comprises drying the sheet coated in the layer of gelling agent and the particles of the second pant material.

Optionally, the gelling agent is methylcellulose.

Optionally, in the second or third aspects, the first plant material is a different material from the second plant material.

Optionally, in the second or third aspects, the first plant material comprises at least one of: lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres.

Optionally, in the second or third aspects, the second plant material comprises material derived from at least one of: fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and spices. The invention is described below by way of examples and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 shows an example infusion product;

Fig. 2 shows a step in an example method of making an example infusion product in which fibres of a first plant material are soaked in a liquid to form a pulp;

Fig. 3 shows a step in an example method of making an example infusion product in which particles of a second plant material are mixed with pulp;

Figs. 4 and 5 shows a step in an example method of making an example infusion product in which pulp is separated from a portion of the liquid using a mesh screen;

Fig. 6 shows a step in an example method of making an example infusion product in which pulp is pressed to remove a portion of the liquid from the pulp;

Fig. 7 shows an example apparatus optionally used during the pressing step shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 1 shows an example of an infusion product 1 in accordance with the present invention. An infusion product may generally refer to products, such as tea bags, which are soaked in a liquid, such as water, so that flavourants within the product infuse into the liquid to make a beverage. Accordingly, the infusion product 1 of the invention is for making a beverage by soaking the infusion product in a (first) liquid, e.g. water. In one specific example, the infusion product 1 described herein provides an alternative to the tea bag, for making tea.

The infusion product 1 comprises a sheet-like matrix formed from fibres of a first plant material 2. The sheet-like matrix may be a paper sheet. The sheet-like matrix is relatively thin in depth (i.e. into the page of Fig. 1) compared to its height and width. Accordingly, the infusion product 1 is substantially flat, i.e. a sheet. The infusion product 1, can may be formed into any shape, e.g. two-dimensional shape. As shown in Fig. 1 the sheet-like matrix may be substantially polygonal, e.g. rectangular, as shown, square.

However, the infusion product 1 may also be formed into three-dimensional shapes, e.g. by folding the sheet-like matrix.

Particles of a second plant material 3 are embedded within the sheet-like matrix. The particles are configured such that an extract from the second plant material 3 infuses into the (first) liquid, from which the beverage is made, when the infusion product 1 is soaked in the (first) liquid to make the beverage. The second plant material 3 (i.e. via the extract therefrom) may be configured to impart a major portion (e.g. substantially all) of the flavour to the beverage from the infusion product 1, e.g. as opposed to plant materials forming the sheet-like matrix.

The popularity of the teabag stems from both its ease of use and its ability to allow the users to control tea strength and produce a cup of tea personal to the consumers tastes. This infusion product 1 in accordance with the disclosure does not change the user experience of having or making a cup of tea, compared to the teabag. To make a beverage, e.g. tea, using the infusion product 1, the infusion product 1 may be placed in a vessel (e.g. a mug or a teapot) to soak in hot water, until the desired amount of infusion is reached.

The infusion product 1, being made entirely from plant materials, may then be disposed of along with food waste or composted after use.

Exemplary methods if making the infusion product 1 described above are described below with reference to Figs. 2 to 7.

As shown in Fig. 2, the method disclosed herein of making an infusion product 1 comprises soaking fibres of the first plant material 2 in a (second) liquid 4 to form a pulp. For the avoidance of doubt, the second liquid 4 is different from the first liquid used for making the beverage, although they may have the same formulation. The second liquid may be water, for example. As shown in Fig. 2, the fibres of the first plant material 2 and the second liquid 4 may be mechanically mixed. Optionally, they may be refined.

The fibres of the first plant material 2 may comprise cellulosic fibres, such as wood fibres. The fibres of the first plant material 2 may comprise at least one of: lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres. Preferably, lokta fibres are used. However, the fibres of first plant material 2 may be any paper making plant fibres, for example, e.g. fibres from recycled paper.

The second liquid 4 may comprise an extract from a third plant material. The third plant material may be soaked in the second liquid 4 such that the extract from the third plant material infuses into the second liquid 4. Optionally, the second liquid 4 comprising the extract from a third plant material may be concentrated by evaporating some of the second liquid, e.g. by applying heat and/or pressure. Preferably, this occurs before soaking the fibres of the first plant material 3 in the second liquid 4. Preferably, the third plant material is removed from the second liquid 4, before soaking the fibres of the first plant material 2 in the second liquid 4. By adding an extract from a third plant material to the second liquid, the resulting infusion product was surprisingly found to maintain its structural integrity for longer, when placed in hot water.

Preferably, the third plant material is the same material as the second plant material 3. However, the first plant material may be a different material from the second plant material 3. Other additives may also be added to the second liquid 4, such as starch, gelatine and/or chitosan. These may improve structural integrity of the infusion product and may also prevent extract from the particles of the second plant material 3 seeping into the sheet-like matrix formed from the fibres of the first plant material 2.

In one particular example, a gelling agent may be added to the second liquid. The gelling agent may comprise methylcellulose. In one example, the gelling agent was METHOCEL (Methylcellulose) from Speciallngredients®. The gelling agent may be added to the second liquid in an amount of 0.1-10% w/v, preferably 0.1-1% w/v, preferably still 0.5% w/v. Methylcellulose has the advantage of gelling at high temperatures, so when added to hot water for brewing tea for example, the structural integrity of the product is increased.

As shown in Fig. 3, the method disclosed herein further comprises mixing particles of the second plant material 3 with the pulp formed from the fibres of the first plant material 2. As stated above, the particles are configured such that an extract from the second plant material 3 infuses into the first liquid when the infusion product 1 is soaked in the first liquid to make the beverage.

The ratio, by weight, of the first plant material 2 to the second plant material 3 in the pulp is preferably greater than 1. Further, in the infusion product 1 the ratio is greater than 1, i.e. there is more of the first plant material in the infusion product 1.

The particles of the second plant material 3 are preferably added in a state in which the extract from the second plant material 3 is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material. Further, the particles of the second plant material 3 are preferably in a state in which the extract from the second plant material 3 is substantially retained within the particles of the second plant material, in the final infusion product 1. That is, during the manufacturing process, a substantial amount of the extract does not infuse into the second liquid 4 and/or seep into the sheet-like matrix formed from the fibres of the first plant material 2. Accordingly, the temperature of the second liquid should be sufficiently cool and/or the particles of the second plant material should not be left in the second liquid 4 for too long.

The second plant material 3 may comprise material from fruits, herbs, medicinal plants, tea, vegetables and/or spices. These may be for example selected from artemisia, balm, basil, chamomile, chive, cloves, coffee, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, ginseng, gingko, jasmine, lavender, mint, orange blossom, oregano, persil, rooibos, rosa centifolia, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, sage, pepper, chili pepper, stevia rebaudiana, tarragon, white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea, pu-erh tea, vanilla, red or green vine, violet and/or willow. However, it should be understood that this list is not exhaustive. Any plant material suitable for making a beverage may be used. Preferably, the second plant material 3 comprises tea, e.g. black tea.

As shown in Figs. 4 and 5, the method according to the present disclosure comprises forming the pulp, with the particles of the second plant material 3 mixed therein, into a sheet-like structure. This step may comprise removing the pulp from the second liquid using a mesh screen 5. This allows a portion of the second liquid 4 to drain away. The mesh screen 5 may comprise a nylon mesh, for example. The mesh screen 5 may be typical of a papermaking process. As shown in Figs. 4 and 5, the mesh screen 7 may be provided in a frame 6. The frame 6 may be used to shape the pulp.

If the method is performed on an industrial scale, for example, the mesh screen 5 may be provided as a mesh conveyor belt and the frame 6 may be provided as walls, either side of the mesh conveyor belt. This is similar to an industrial paper making process.

As shown in Fig. 6, the step of forming the pulp into a sheet-like structure may comprise pressing the pulp to remove a portion of the second liquid 4 from the pulp. This may be performed by hand first. As shown in Fig. 6, the pulp may be placed between two plates 7, 8 (e.g. metal plates). The plates 7, 6 may then be pressed together, e.g. using an arbour press 9, as shown. An absorbent material may be provided between the pulp and one or both of the metal plates 7, 8 in order to absorb the second liquid 4 removed from the pulp by the pressing.

In order to improve this process, the arrangement in Fig. 7 may be used. In particular, the lower plate 7 may be provided with multiple through holes therein, e.g. lmm to 2mm diameter holes. This allows the second liquid 4 to drain away, e.g. into a container 10. A paper filter may be provided on the surface of the plate 7 in order to reduce deformation of the pulp by the holes, but allow the second liquid 4 to drain.

If the method is performed on an industrial scale, for example, the plates 7, 8 may be provided as rollers, which nip and press the pulp therebetween. Absorbent material may be provided either side of the pulp in order to support it. This is similar to an industrial paper making process.

In examples comprising a gelling agent, such as methyl cellulose, the steps of removing the pulp from the second liquid using a mesh and pressing may not be required. This is because, the liquid forms a gel. Instead the gel containing the particles of the second plant material can be spread or pressed into a sheet like structure. If the method is performed on an industrial scale, for example, the gel may be passed between rollers, which nip and press the pulp therebetween.

The sheet-like structure is then dried, i.e. to form a sheet-like matrix formed from fibres of the first plant material embedded with particles of the second plant material. Drying may be performed by placing the sheet-like structure in an oven, vacuum oven, or dehumidifier, or on a hot plate.

If the method is performed on an industrial scale, for example, the sheet-like structure may be rolled over a heated roller. A supporting material nay be provided between the sheet-like structure and the heated roller.

The final sheet-like matrix embedded with particles of the second plant material may be cut into a desired shape, and optionally folded as described previously.

All the constituents (i.e. plant materials, additives and liquids) forming the infusion product 1 in accordance with the disclosure should be substantially free from plastic and/or other non-compostable material. Accordingly, the infusion product 1 is compostable.

As specific example method will now be described below. This method was used to make an infusion product referred to as a tea sheet.

The papermaking process used to create tea sheets was a method commonly used for hand making paper in the home. A bowl was filled with shredded paper and water and then blended with a hand blender to create a pulp. Nylon mesh was stretched across a square frame and fixed in place to create a filter, which was used to scoop the pulp. The pulp was then pressed by hand into the filter square to shape it and remove a large proportion of the water. Then the filter square was flipped over to help extract the paper, before it was pressed between two metal plates on the arbour press. This helped to remove a substantial amount of the water and also flatten the paper into a thinner sheet. Generally, although not always, the rest of the drying process was sped up by putting the paper into the oven.

Lokta pulp was found to have good structural integrity, only showing initial fragmentation in water at 80oC after 10 minutes. Additives were used in order to further improve the structural integrity (particularly when stirred). The additives chosen are all already used in the standard paper making process, and are all food grade: starch, gelatine and chitosan. Starch and gelatine concentrations of approximately 40g per 5 litres of pulp were enough to provide noticeable improvements in strength. A particularly good combination however was a combination: 40g of starch and 20g of gelatine, which lasted around 20minutes without stirring at 80°C. Surprisingly, the combination of starch and gelatine was also observed to reduce the steeping of the tea into the paper during the manufacturing process.

An arbour press was used for reducing the thickness of the paper. It also drained extra water from the paper. In order to reduce the lateral flow of water during pressing (and therefore steeping), the bottom metal plate was replaced with one that has uniform l-2mm in holes over its surface with a container or an area for water collection beneath. This was used with a paper filter covering the holes to minimise any deformation to the paper.

Surprisingly, making paper made from the pulp mixed with tea (i.e. water infused with tea) instead of water, it was found that the tea sheet could last for over 10 minutes in water at 80°C, even when being stirred, which was an improvement on using water.

Further, compared to the use of additives, it was found that the paper it formed was both more flexible but more difficult to tear than when starch and gelatine were used.

In the above example the tea sheet was made using 5 litres of water (or tea made from 10 tea bags, about 20g of tea), 4 A3 sheets of lokta pulp (about 45g) with 20 tea bags of tea granules (particles) (about 40g of tea) added at the pulp stage.

An alternative method may be used to make the infusion product. Instead of incorporating the particles of the second plant material into the sheet like matrix, the particles may be on the surface of a sheet of a first plant material. In particular, the method comprises coating a sheet formed from fibres of a first plant material with a layer of gelling agent, then coating the layer of gelling agent with the particles of the second plant material. As in the previous method, the gelling agent may be the gelling agent is methylcellulose. The particles of the second plant material may be pressed into the layer of gelling agent. The pressing may be performed in substantially the same way as described in relation to the prior example method. Further, the sheet coated in the layer of gelling agent and the particles of the second pant material may be dried. The drying may be performed in substantially the same way as described in relation to the prior example method.

The layer of gelling agent may be formed by applying a solution of gelling agent in water in an amount of 0.5-10% w/v, preferably 2.5-7.5% w/v, preferably still 5% w/v. The sheets may be dip coated, brush coated, or spray coated in the gelling agent, for example. However any suitable method may be used. The same applies to the step of coating in the particles of second plant material.

The sheets may be formed from a pulp as described above in relation to the prior example method, or may be ready formed sheets. As in the prior example method, the sheets may be formed from any combination of lokta fibres, cotton fibres, hemp fibres and abaca fibres.

The infusion products described above and/or made by the methods described above maintain the taste of tea and the user experience, compared to teabags. The resulting cup of tea is similar to that which is already on the market. There is little to no sedimentation left behind and the infusion product maintains its structure when placed in water at approximately 80°C.

The product is entirely made from plant materials so is completely home compostable. The product is simple to manufacture, made from completely food grade materials and cost effective. Furthermore, the product is able to be stored over an extended period of time.