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Title:
COFFEE FORMULATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/236602
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Coffee formulations comprising a coffee extract, a flavor agent, a solvent, and a coloring agent are described. Cartridges containing the coffee formulations are also described. Beverage dispensing systems containing such cartridges, and methods of make and using the coffee formulations are also described.

Inventors:
LANE SUE (US)
LAWRENCE LASHAWNDRA (US)
DISTEFANO COURTNEY CHIANG (US)
Application Number:
US2020/033158
Publication Date:
November 26, 2020
Filing Date:
May 15, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
COCA COLA CO (US)
International Classes:
A23F5/24; A23F5/26; A23F5/46; B67D1/00; G06F3/0482; G06Q30/06; G07F13/06
Foreign References:
US20090035421A12009-02-05
US20080138490A12008-06-12
US20020155210A12002-10-24
US20060024420A12006-02-02
JP2015112033A2015-06-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CURFMAN, Christopher L. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A coffee formulation, comprising: a coffee extract, a flavor agent, a solvent, and a coloring agent.

2. The coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the viscosity is from 1 to 10 cp and the pH is from 4 to 6.

3. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the coffee extract from a cold brew process.

4. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the coffee extract is filtered through a filter having openings of 250 pm or less.

5. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the coffee extract is present in an amount of from 50 wt.% to 95 wt.%.

6. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the flavoring agent is present in an amount of from 1 to 20 wt.%.

7. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the solvent is chosen from ethanol, propylene glycol, glycerin, or any combination thereof.

8. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the solvent is present in an amount of from 10 wt.% to 40 wt.%,

9. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the coloring agent is present in an amount of from 0.5 to 5 wt.%.

10. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, comprising 63 wt.% of the coffee extract; 9 wt.% of the flavoring agent; 25 wt.% of the solvent; and 2.5 wt.%. of the coloring agent.

11. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a

buffering agent.

12. The coffee formulation of claim 11, wherein the buffering agent comprises sodium bicarbonate.

13. The coffee formulation of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising anti- foaming agents, sweeteners, acidified dairy ingredients, additional flavoring agents, or processing aids.

14. A cartridge for a beverage dispensing system, comprising the formulation of any one of claims 1-13.

15. The cartridge of claim 14, wherein the cartridge is for a micro-ingredient beverage dispensing system.

16. A beverage dispensing system, comprising the one or more cartridges of any one of claims 14-15.

17. A method of preparing a coffee beverage, comprising mixing water with the contents of a cartridge of any one of claims 14-15 with water a ratio of from 49: 1 to 100: 1.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the ratio is 60: 1.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 3 November 2020 (03.11.2020)

1. A coffee formulation beverage concentrate, comprising: a coffee extract, a flavor agent, a solvent, and a coloring agent, wherein the coffee extract is present in an amount of from 50 wt.% to 95 wt.%.

2. The coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the viscosity is from 1 to 10 cp and the pH is from 4 to 6.

3. The coffee formulation of claim 1 , wherein the coffee extract is from a cold brew process

4. The coffee formulation of claim 3, wherein the coffee extract is filtered through a filter having openings of 250 pm or less.

5. The coffee formulation of claim 1 , wherein the coffee extract is present in an amount of from 55 wt.% to 85 wt.%.

6. lire coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the flavoring agent is present in an amount of from 1 to 20 wt.%.

7. The coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the solvent is chosen from ethanol, propylene glycol, glycerin, or any combination thereof

8. The coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the solvent is present in an amount of from 10 wt.% to 40 wt.%,

9. The coffee formulation of claim 1, wherein the coloring agent is present in an amount of from 0.5 to 5 wt.%.

10. The coffee formulation of claim 1, comprising 63 wt.% of the coffee extract; 9 wt.% of the flavoring agent; 25 wt.% of the solvent; and 2.5 wt.%. of the coloring agent.

11. The coffee formulation of claim 1, further comprising a buffering agent.

12. The coffee formulation of claim 1 1, wherein the buffering agent comprises sodium bicarbonate.

13. The coffee formulation of claim 1 , further comprising a compound selected from an anti- foaming agent, a sweetener, an acidified dairy ingredient, additional flavoring agents, processing aids, and a combination thereof.

14. A cartridge for a beverage dispensing system, comprising the formulation of claim 1.

15. The cartridge of claim 14, wherein the cartridge is configured to hold a formulation for dilution at 10: 1 or higher with water in order to produce a beverage.

16. A beverage dispensing system, comprising one or more cartridges of claim 15.

17. A method of preparing a coffee beverage, comprising mixing water with the contents of a cartridge of claim 15 with water a ratio of from 49: 1 to 100: 1.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the ratio is 60: 1.

Description:
COFFEE FORMULATION

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/849,486, filed May 17, 2019, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Traditional post-mix beverage dispensing systems generally mix streams of syrup, concentrate, sweetener, bonus flavors, other types of flavorings, and/or other ingredients with water or other types of diluents by flowing the syrup stream down the center of the nozzle with the water stream flowing around the outside. The syrup stream is directed downward with the water stream such that the streams mix as they fall into a consumer’s cup. There is a desire for a beverage dispensing system as a whole to provide as many different types and flavors of beverages as may be possible in a footprint that may be as small as possible.

Recent improvements in beverage dispensing technology have focused on the use of micro- ingredients. With micro-ingredients, the traditional beverage bases may be separated into their constituent parts at much higher dilution or reconstitution ratios.

This technology utilizes cartridges containing the highly concentrated micro- ingredients. The micro-ingredients are mixed with sweeteners and still or sparkling water using precise metering and dosing technologies and dispensed through a nozzle that promotes in-air mixing so as to prevent carry-over. The technology includes a user input for a user to select a desired beverage, customize the beverage if desired, and pour the beverage at the dispenser. These beverages are made from precise recipes to ensure a great tasting beverage regardless of the customization.

Coffee formulations for such beverage dispensing machines are needed.

Formulations for coffee beverages are, however, challenging. The coffee beverage should have a coffee mouthfeel and acidity. Providing a coffee mouth feel has been difficult without increasing viscosity, which can affect the dispensing apparatus. Further, it has been difficult to provide coffee formulations with good stability. Thus, the formulations disclosed herein address these and other needs. SUMMARY

In accordance with the purposes of the disclosed materials and methods, as embodied and broadly described herein, the disclosed subject matter, in one aspect, relates to

compounds, compositions and methods of making and using compounds and compositions.

In specific aspects, the disclosed subject matter relates to coffee formulations comprising a coffee extract, a flavor agent, a solvent, and a coloring agent. Cartridges containing the disclosed coffee formulations are also disclosed. Beverage dispensing systems containing such cartridges, and methods of make and using the coffee formulations are also disclosed.

Additional advantages will be set forth in part in the description that follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the aspects described below. The advantages described below will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present disclosure, reference is now made to the following brief description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and detailed description, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary beverage dispenser system suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit with a positive displacement pump suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit with a static mechanical flow control suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit with a dynamic mechanical flow control and flow meter suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit with a plurality of independently controlled paths from a single ingredient source suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure.

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of a control architecture for a beverage dispenser suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The materials, compounds, compositions, and methods described herein may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of specific aspects of the disclosed subject matter and the Examples included therein.

Before the present materials, compounds, compositions, and methods are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that the aspects described below are not limited to specific synthetic methods or specific reagents, as such may, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only and is not intended to be limiting.

Also, throughout this specification, various publications are referenced. The disclosures of these publications in their entireties are hereby incorporated by reference into this application in order to more fully describe the state of the art to which the disclosed matter pertains. The references disclosed are also individually and specifically incorporated by reference herein for the material contained in them that is discussed in the sentence in which the reference is relied upon.

General Definitions

In this specification and in the claims that follow, reference will be made to a number of terms, which shall be defined to have the following meanings:

Throughout the specification and claims the word“comprise” and other forms of the word, such as“comprising” and“comprises,” means including but not limited to, and is not intended to exclude, for example, other additives, components, integers, or steps.

As used in the description and the appended claims, the singular forms“a,”“an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to“a composition” includes mixtures of two or more such compositions, reference to“an inhibitor” includes mixtures of two or more such inhibitors, and the like.

“Optional” or“optionally” means that the subsequently described event or

circumstance can or cannot occur, and that the description includes instances where the event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not.

Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the disclosure are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical value, however, inherently contain certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements. Furthermore, when numerical ranges of varying scope are set forth herein, it is contemplated that any combination of these values inclusive of the recited values may be used. Further, ranges can be expressed herein as from“about” one particular value, and/or to“about” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another aspect includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value.

References in the specification and concluding claims to parts by weight of a particular element or component in a composition denotes the weight relationship between the element or component and any other elements or components in the composition or article for which a part by weight is expressed. Thus, in a mixture containing 2 parts by weight of component X and 5 parts by weight component Y, X and Y are present at a weight ratio of 2:5, and are present in such ratio regardless of whether additional components are contained in the mixture.

A weight percent (wt.%) of a component, unless specifically stated to the contrary, is based on the total weight of the formulation or composition in which the component is included.

Formulations

Disclosed herein are coffee formulations for providing a coffee beverage from a post- mix beverage dispensing system, in particular beverage dispensing systems that use micro- ingredients in highly concentrated cartridges. The disclosed coffee formulations can comprise a coffee extract, a flavor agent, a solvent, and a coloring agent. The disclosed coffee formulations can have a low viscosity, e.g., from 1 to 10 cp. In specific examples, the disclosed coffee formulations can have a viscosity of from 1 to 9, from 2 to 8, from 3 to 7, from 4 to 6, from 2 to 9, from 3 to 8, or from 4 to 7 cp. The pH of the disclosed coffee formulations can be from 4 to 6, e.g., 5. In a specific aspect, the pH of the disclosed coffee formulation can be less than 5.3.

Coffee Extract

In the disclosed coffee formulations, one component is a coffee extract. The coffee extract can be an extract from a cold brew process. Cold brew processes are usually performed by contacting ground coffee beans with water that is 120°F or under or at ambient temperatures. Contacting the coffee with water can be done by steeping the coffee for a period of time (e.g., several hours to several days). The coffee grounds are then removed from the extract by filtration. In other examples, the coffee extract can be an extract from a hot brew process, e.g., brewing that contacts ground coffee beans for a period of time (e.g., several minutes to several hours) with water in excess of 120°F. Types of hot brew processes include, but are not limited to, drip filtration, French press, espresso methods (hot water is pushed through compact layers of ground coffee), Turkish method, and the like. The types of coffee that can be used include Arabica varieties or Robusta varieties. In a particular example, the coffee extract is a cold brew extract of Arabica coffee.

The coffee extracts used herein can also be filtered to remove particulate matter. Filtering can be accomplished by passing the coffee extract through screens having openings of 250 pm or less. Such screens/filters are typically referred to as being 60 mesh or higher, from 60 to 500, from 80 to 325, 120 to 230, from 60 to 200, or from 200 to 500 mesh. The correlation of sieve designations (mesh size) to sieve opening size is provided below. Any of the mesh or corresponding sieve opening values can form an upper or lower endpoint of a range.

The amount of coffee extract in the disclosed coffee formulations can be from 50 wt.% to 95 wt.%, e.g., from 50 wt.% to 90 wt.%, from 55 wt.% to 85 wt.%, from 60 wt.% to 80 wt.%, from 65 wt.% to 75 wt.%, from 50 wt.% to 70 wt.%, from 55 wt.% to 65 wt.%, or from 60 wt.% to 65 wt.%. In some examples, the amount of coffee extract in the disclosed coffee formulations can be 50 wt.%, 55 wt.%, 60 wt.%, 65 wt.%, 70 wt.%, 75 wt.%, 80 wt.%, 85 wt.%, 90 wt.%, or 95 wt.%, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range. In a specific example, the coffee extract can be present at 63 wt.%.

In certain examples, the coffee extract, before or after filtration, can be treated with soluble spray-dried coffee solids at from 22 to 52 °Brix, e.g., 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36,

38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 58, 50, or 52 °Brix, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range.

Flavoring Agent

In the disclosed coffee formulations, another component is a flavoring agent. The flavoring agent can be a natural or synthetic coffee flavor. Natural coffee flavor agents can include extracts or oils from nuts (e.g., hazelnut, pecan), vanilla, cinnamon, clove, ginger, pumpkin, eggnog, coco, mint, and the like, including any combination thereof.

The amount of flavoring agent in the disclosed coffee formulations can be from 1 to 20 wt.%, e.g., from 5 wt.% to 15 wt.%, from 5 wt.% to 10 wt.%, from 1 wt.% to 15 wt.%, from 1 wt.% to 10 wt.%, from 1 wt.% to 5 wt.%, from 5 wt.% to 20 wt.%. In some examples, the amount of flavoring agent can be 1 wt.%, 5 wt.%, 10 wt.%, 15 wt.%, or 20 wt.%, where any of the stated valued can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range. In a specific example, the amount of flavoring agent in the disclosed coffee formulations can be 9 wt.%.

Solvent

In the disclosed formulations, another component is a solvent. The solvent can be added to modify the viscosity of the coffee formulation and/or to affect the stability, including micro-stability. Examples of suitable solvents include ethanol, propylene glycol, glycerin, isopropyl alcohol, or any combination thereof.

The amount of solvent in the disclosed coffee formulations can be from 10 wt.% to 40 wt.%, from 15 wt.% to 35 wt.%, from 20 wt.% to 30 wt.%, from 10 wt.% to 30 wt.%, from 15 wt.% to 25 wt.%, from 20 wt.% to 40 wt.%, or from 25 wt.% to 30 wt.%. In some examples, the amount of solvent can be 10 wt.%, 15 wt.%, 20 wt.%, 25 wt.%, 30 wt.%, 35 wt.%, or 40 wt.%, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range. In a specific example, the amount of solvent in the disclosed coffee formulations can be 25 wt.%. Coloring Agent

In the disclosed coffee formulations, another component is a coloring agent. Coloring agents can be added to adjust the color of the beverage. Examples of coloring agents include caramel colorings agents or synthetic colors.

The amount of coloring agent in the disclosed coffee formulations can be from 0.5 to 5 wt.%, e.g., 1 wt.% to 4.5 wt.%, 1.5 wt.% to 4 wt.%, 2 wt.% to 3.5 wt.%, or 2.5 wt.% to 3 wt.%. In some examples, the amount of coloring agent can be 0.5 wt.%, 1 wt.%, 1.5 wt.%, 2 wt.%, 2.5 wt.%, 3 wt.%, 3.5 wt.%, 4 wt.%, 4.5 wt.%, or 5 wt.%, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range. In a specific example, the amount of coloring agent can be 2.5 wt.%.

Additional components

The disclosed coffee formulations can also comprise one or more additional components. For example, buffering agents to maintain a specific pH can be used. Examples of suitable buffering agents include sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, sodium polyphosphate, potassium phosphate, lactic acid, adipic acid, monosodium fumarate, fumaric acid, malic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, acetic acid, phosphoric acid, and the like, including any combination thereof. The additional components can also include anti-foaming agents, sweeteners, acidified dairy ingredients, additional flavoring agents, and/or processing aids.

The amounts of additional agents in the disclosed coffee formulations can each be from 0.1 to 5 wt.%, e.g., 0.1 wt.% to 1 wt.%, 0.5 wt.% to 4.5 wt.%, 1.5 wt.% to 4 wt.%, 2 wt.% to 3.5 wt.%, 2.5 wt.% to 3 wt.%, or 0.1 wt.% to 1.5 wt.%. In some examples, the amount of coloring agent can be 0.1 wt.%, 0.5 wt.%, 1 wt.%, 1.5 wt.%, 2 wt.%, 2.5 wt.%, 3 wt.%, 3.5 wt.%, 4 wt.%, 4.5 wt.%, or 5 wt.%, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range. In a specific example, the amount of coloring agent can be 0.25 wt.%, 0.5 wt.%, or 0.75 %.

Cartridges

In some aspects, disclosed herein are cartridges for a micro-ingredient beverage dispensing system. The cartridges can contain a coffee formulation as disclosed herein. The cartridges can be single cartridges or double cartridges such as described in commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/209,684, entitled“Beverage Dispenser Container and Carton,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/494,427, entitled“Container Filling Systems and Methods,” which are both herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

Method of use

The cartridges can be used in a micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine. Water or carbonated water can be mixed with the formulations in the cartridges at reconstitution ratio of from 30: 1 to 150: 1, e.g., 49: 1 to 100: 1, e.g., 50: 1, 55: 1, 60: 1, 65:1, 70: 1, 75: 1, 80: 1, 85: 1, 90: 1, 95:1, or 100: 1, where any of the stated ratios can be upper or lower endpoints of a range of ratios. In a specific example, the reconstitution ratio of the formulations may be 49: 1.

A pump or metering device in the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine may be releasably fluidically coupled to a cartridge with the formulations for supplying the formulations to a nozzle. The pump or metering device may dispense the formulations to the nozzle with a flow rate at a 1% utilization rate of the formulations per volume of finished beverage dispensed from the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine. The utilization rate represents the percent by volume of a beverage ingredient in a micro-ingredient cartridge per volume of finished beverage dispensed. In a specific example, the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine may comprise two cartridges with the beverage formulations, each cartridge coupled to a corresponding pump or metering device for dispensing the formulations to the nozzle at a 2% total utilization rate of the formulations per volume of finished beverage dispensed from the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine. Other utilization rates of the formulations may be used, such as 0.5% to 5%. In some examples, the utilization rate of the formulations may be 0.5%, 0.6%, 0.7%, 0.8%, 0.9%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, 2.5%, 3%, 3.5%, 4%, 4.5%, or 5%, where any of the stated values can be the upper or lower endpoint of a range.

A finished coffee beverage may be dispensed from a micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine by dispensing the formulations in the cartridges along with water or carbonated water without any supplemental sweetener or flavor components added to the finished beverage. For example, the coffee beverage may be dispensed from a micro- ingredient beverage dispensing machine by only dispensing the formulations in the cartridges along with water or carbonated water. In various implementations, a finished coffee beverage may be dispensed from the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine by dispensing the formulations in the cartridges along with one or more additional beverage ingredients and water or carbonated water. The additional beverage ingredients may include one or more sweetener(s), and/or micro-ingredient non-sweetener flavor component(s). The sweetener may be selected from one or more nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners such as sugar syrup, HFCS (“High Fructose Corn Syrup”), FIS (“Fully Inverted Sugar”), MIS (“Medium Inverted Sugar”), erythritol, aspartame, Ace-K, steviol glycosides (e.g., Reb A,

Reb M), sucralose, saccharin, or combinations thereof and other flavor and sweetener ingredients. The micro-ingredient non-sweetener flavor component may be selected from one or more flavors of a cherry, grape, lemon, lime, orange, peach, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, or combinations thereof. In some specific examples, the micro-ingredient beverage dispensing machine may dispense an un-sweetened, un-flavored coffee beverage; a sweetened, un-flavored coffee beverage; a sweetened, flavored coffee beverage; or an un- sweetened, flavored coffee beverage.

Described herein are example systems and methods for dispensing a coffee beverage in a beverage dispensing system (such as a Coca-Cola® Freestyle®). For example, a beverage dispensing system (which may include one or more macro-ingredients and one or more micro-ingredients) combines macro-ingredients (such as sweeteners, water, or carbonated water) and micro-ingredients (such as high intensity sweeteners, flavorings, food acids, or additives) to create a finished beverage. Such micro-dosing functionality may increase the dispensing capabilities of the beverage dispensing system to deliver a large variety of beverages and improve the quality of the beverage dispensed by the beverage dispensing system, including coffee beverages dispensed using the formulations disclosed herein.

Generally described, the macro-ingredients may have reconstitution ratios in the range from full strength (no dilution) to about six (6) to one (1) (but generally less than about ten (10) to one (1)). As used herein, the reconstitution ratio refers to the ratio of diluent (e.g., water or carbonated water) to beverage ingredient. Therefore, a macro-ingredient with a 5: 1 reconstitution ratio refers to a macro-ingredient that is to be dispensed and mixed with five parts diluent for every part of the macro-ingredient in the finished beverage. Many macro- ingredients may have reconstitution ratios in the range of about 3:1 to 5.5: 1, including 4.5: 1, 4.75: 1, 5: 1, 5.25:1, 5.5: 1, and 8: 1 reconstitution ratios.

The macro-ingredients may include sweeteners such as sugar syrup, HFCS (“High Fructose Com Syrup”), FIS (“Fully Inverted Sugar”), MIS (“Medium Inverted Sugar”), mid- calorie sweeteners comprised of nutritive and non-nutritive or high intensity sweetener blends, and other such nutritive sweeteners that are difficult to pump and accurately meter at concentrations greater than about 10: 1 - particularly after having been cooled to standard beverage dispensing temperatures of around 35-45° F. An erythritol sweetener may also be considered a macro-ingredient sweetener when used as the primary sweetener source for a beverage, though typically erythritol will be blended with other sweetener sources and used in solutions with higher reconstitution ratios such that it may be considered a micro- ingredient as described below.

The macro-ingredients may also include traditional BIB (“bag-in-box”) flavored syrups (e.g., COCA-COLA bag-in-box syrup) which contain all of a finished beverage’s sweetener, flavors, and acids that when dispensed is to be mixed with a diluent source such as plain or carbonated water in ratios of around 3 : 1 to 6: 1 of diluent to the syrup. Other typical macro-ingredients may include concentrated extracts, purees, juice concentrates, dairy products or concentrates, soy concentrates, and rice concentrates.

The macro-ingredient may also include macro-ingredient base products. Such macro- ingredient base products may include the sweetener as well as some common flavorings, acids, and other common components of a plurality of different finished beverages. However, one or more additional beverage ingredients (either micro-ingredients or macro-ingredients as described herein) other than the diluent are to be dispensed and mix with the macro- ingredient base product to produce a particular finished beverage. In other words, the macro- ingredient base product may be dispensed and mixed with a first micro-ingredient non- sweetener flavor component to produce a first finished beverage. The same macro-ingredient base product may be dispensed and mixed with a second micro-ingredient non-sweetener flavor component to produce a second finished beverage.

The macro-ingredients described above may be stored in a conventional bag-in-box container in, at and/or remote from the dispenser. The viscosity of the macro-ingredients may range from about 1 to about 10,000 centipoise and generally over 100 centipoises or so when chilled. Other types of macro-ingredients may be used herein.

The micro-ingredients may have reconstitution ratios ranging from about ten (10) to one (1) and higher. Specifically, many micro-ingredients may have reconstitution ratios in the range of about 20: 1, to 50: 1, to 100: 1, to 300: 1, or higher. The viscosities of the micro- ingredients typically range from about one (1) to about six (6) centipoise or so, but may vary from this range. In some instances, the viscosities of the micro-ingredients may be forty (40) centipoise or less. Examples of micro-ingredients include natural or artificial flavors; flavor additives; natural or artificial colors; artificial sweeteners (high potency, nonnutritive, or otherwise); antifoam agents, nonnutritive ingredients, additives for controlling tartness, e.g., citric acid or potassium citrate; functional additives such as vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, nutraceuticals; and over the counter (or otherwise) medicines such as

pseudoephedrine, acetaminophen; and similar types of ingredients. Various acids may be used in micro-ingredients including food acid concentrates such as phosphoric acid, citric acid, malic acid, or any other such common food acids. Various types of alcohols may be used as either macro- or micro-ingredients. The micro-ingredients may be in liquid, gaseous, or powder form (and/or combinations thereof including soluble and suspended ingredients in a variety of media, including water, organic solvents, and oils). Other types of micro- ingredients may be used herein.

Typically, micro-ingredients for a finished beverage product include separately stored non-sweetener beverage component concentrates that constitute the flavor components of the finished beverage. Non-sweetener beverage component concentrates do not act as a primary sweetener source for the finished beverage and do not contain added sweeteners, though some non-sweetener beverage component concentrates may have sweet tasting flavor components or flavor components that are perceived as sweet in them. These non-sweetener beverage component concentrates may include the food acid concentrate and food acid- degradable (or non-acid) concentrate components of the flavor, such as described in commonly owned US patent application Ser. No. 11/276,553, entitled“Methods and Apparatus for Making Compositions Comprising and Acid and Acid Degradable Component and/or Compositions Comprising a Plurality of Selectable Components,” which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. As noted above, micro-ingredients may have reconstitution ratios ranging from about ten (10) to one (1) and higher, where the micro- ingredients for the separately stored non-sweetener beverage component concentrates that constitute the flavor components of the finished beverage typically have reconstitution ratios ranging from 30: 1, 49: 1, 50: 1, 75: 1, 100: 1, 150: 1, 300: 1, or higher.

For example, the non-sweetener flavor components of a cola finished beverage may be provided from separately stored first non-sweetener beverage component concentrate and a second non-sweetener beverage component concentrate. The first non-sweetener beverage component concentrate may comprise the food acid concentrate components of the cola finished beverage, such as phosphoric acid. The second non-sweetener beverage component concentrate may comprise the food acid-degradable concentrate components of the cola finished beverage, such as flavor oils that would react with and impact the taste and shelf life of a non-sweetener beverage component concentrate were they to be stored with the phosphoric acid or other food acid concentrate components separately stored in the first non- sweetener component concentrate. While the second non-sweetener beverage component concentrate does not include the food acid concentrate components of the first non-sweetener beverage component concentrate (e.g., phosphoric acid), the second non- sweetener beverage component concentrate may still be a high-acid beverage component solution (e.g., pH less than 4.6).

A finished beverage may have a plurality of non-sweetener concentrate components of the flavor other than the acid concentrate component of the finished beverage. For example, the non-sweetener flavor components of a cherry cola finished beverage may be provided from the separately stored non-sweetener beverage component concentrates described in the above example as well as a cherry non-sweetener component concentrate. The cherry non-sweetener component concentrate may be dispensed in an amount consistent with a recipe for the cherry cola finished beverage. Such a recipe may have more, less, or the same amount of the cherry non-sweetener component concentrate than other recipes for other finished beverages that include the cherry non-sweetener component concentrate. For example, the amount of cherry specified in the recipe for a cherry cola finished beverage may be more than the amount of cherry specified in the recipe for a cherry lemon-lime finished beverage to provide an optimal taste profile for each of the finished beverage versions. Such recipe-based flavor versions of finished beverages are to be contrasted with the addition of flavor additives or flavor shots as described below.

Other typical micro-ingredients for a finished beverage product may include micro- ingredient sweeteners. Micro-ingredient sweeteners may include high intensity sweeteners such as aspartame, Ace-K, steviol glycosides (e.g., Reb A, Reb M), sucralose, saccharin, or combinations thereof. Micro-ingredient sweeteners may also include erythritol when dispensed in combination with one or more other sweetener sources or when using blends of erythritol and one or more high intensity sweeteners as a single sweetener source.

Other typical micro-ingredients for supplementing a finished beverage product may include micro-ingredient flavor additives. Micro-ingredient flavor additives may include additional flavor options that can be added to a base beverage flavor. The micro-ingredient flavor additives may be non-sweetener beverage component concentrates. For example, a base beverage may be a cola flavored beverage, whereas cherry, lime, lemon, orange, and the like may be added to the cola beverage as flavor additives, sometimes referred to as flavor shots. In contrast to recipe-based flavor versions of finished beverages, the amount of micro- ingredient flavor additive added to supplement a finished beverage may be consistent among different finished beverages. For example, the amount of cherry non-sweetener component concentrate included as a flavor additive or flavor shot in a cola finished beverage may be the same as the amount of cherry non-sweetener component concentrate included as a flavor additive or flavor shot in a lemon-lime finished beverage. Additionally, whereas a recipe- based flavor version of a finished beverage is selectable via a single finished beverage selection icon or button (e.g., cherry cola icon/button), a flavor additive or flavor shot is a supplemental selection in addition to the finished beverage selection icon or button (e.g., cola icon/button selection followed by a cherry icon/button selection).

As is generally understood, such beverage selections may be made through a touchscreen user interface or other typical beverage user interface selection mechanism (e.g., buttons) on a beverage dispenser. The selected beverage, including any selected flavor additives, may then be dispensed upon the beverage dispenser receiving a further dispense command through a separate dispense button on the touchscreen user interface or through interaction with a separate pour mechanism such as a pour button (electromechanical, capacitive touch, or otherwise) or pour lever.

In the traditional BIB flavored syrup delivery of a finished beverage, a macro- ingredient flavored syrup that contains all of a finished beverage’s sweetener, flavors, and acids is mixed with a diluent source such as plain or carbonated water in ratios of around 3 : 1 to 6: 1 of diluent to the syrup. In contrast, for a micro-ingredient delivery of a finished beverage, the sweetener(s) and the non-sweetener beverage component concentrates of the finished beverage are all separately stored and mixed together about a nozzle when the finished beverage is dispensed. Example nozzles suitable for dispensing of such micro- ingredients include those described in commonly owned US provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/433,886, entitled“Dispensing Nozzle Assembly,” PCT patent application Ser.

No. PCT/US15/026657, entitled“Common Dispensing Nozzle Assembly,” US patent No. 7,866,509, entitled“Dispensing Nozzle Assembly,” or US patent No. 7,578,415, entitled “Dispensing Nozzle Assembly,” which are all herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

In operation, the beverage dispenser may dispense finished beverages from any one or more of the macro-ingredient or micro-ingredient sources described above. For example, similar to the traditional BIB flavored syrup delivery of a finished beverage, a macro- ingredient flavored syrup may be dispensed with a diluent source such as plain or carbonated water to produce a finished beverage. Additionally, the traditional BIB flavored syrup may be dispensed with the diluent and one or more micro-ingredient flavor additives to increase the variety of beverages offered by the beverage dispenser.

Micro-ingredient-based finished beverages may be dispensed by separately dispensing each of the two or more non-sweetener beverage component concentrates of the finished beverage along with a sweetener and diluent. The sweetener may be a macro-ingredient sweetener and/or a micro-ingredient sweetener and the diluent may be water and/or carbonated water. For example, a micro-ingredient-based cola finished beverage may be dispensed by separately dispensing food acid concentrate components of the cola finished beverage, such as phosphoric acid, food acid-degradable concentrate components of the cola finished beverage, such as flavor oils, macro-ingredient sweetener, such as HFCS, and carbonated water. In another example, a micro-ingredient-based diet-cola finished beverage may be dispensed by separately dispensing food acid concentrate components of the diet-cola finished beverage, food acid-degradable concentrate components of the diet-cola finished beverage, micro-ingredient sweetener, such as aspartame or an aspartame blend, and carbonated water. As a further example, a mid-calorie micro-ingredient-based cola finished beverage may be dispensed by separately dispensing food acid concentrate components of the mid-calorie cola finished beverage, food acid-degradable concentrate components of the mid- calorie cola finished beverage, a reduced amount of a macro-ingredient sweetener, a reduced amount of a micro-ingredient sweetener, and carbonated water. By reduced amount of macro- ingredient and micro-ingredient sweeteners, it is meant to be in comparison with the amount of macro-ingredient or micro-ingredient sweetener used in the cola finished beverage and diet-cola finished beverage. As a final example, a supplemental flavored micro-ingredient- based beverage, such as a cherry cola beverage or a cola beverage with an orange flavor shot, may be dispensed by separately dispensing a food acid concentrate components of the flavored cola finished beverage, food acid-degradable concentrate components of the flavored cola finished beverage, one or more non-sweetener micro-ingredient flavor additives (dispensed as either as a recipe-based flavor version of a finished beverage or a flavor shot), a sweetener (macro-ingredient sweetener, micro-ingredient sweetener, or combinations thereof), and carbonated water. While the above examples are provided for carbonated beverages, they apply to still beverages as well by substituting carbonated water with plain water. The various ingredients may be dispensed by the beverage dispenser in a continuous pour mode where the appropriate ingredients in the appropriate proportions (e.g., in a predetermined ratio) for a given flow rate of the beverage being dispensed. In other words, as opposed to a conventional batch operation where a predetermined amount of ingredients are combined, the beverage dispenser provides for continuous mixing and flows in the correct ratio of ingredients for a pour of any volume. This continuous mix and flow method can also be applied to the dispensing of a particular size beverage selected by the selection of a beverage size button by setting a predetermined dispensing time for each size of beverage.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary beverage dispenser system 500 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. As shown, the beverage dispenser system 500 is configured as an ice cooled beverage dispenser. Other configurations of beverage dispensers are contemplated by this disclosure such as a drop-in ice-cooled beverage dispenser, a counter electric beverage dispenser, a remote recirculation beverage dispenser, or any other beverage dispenser configuration.

The beverage dispenser system 500 includes a front room system 502 with a beverage dispenser 504 and a back room system 506. The beverage dispenser 504 includes a user interface 508, such as a touchscreen display, to facilitate selection of the beverage to be dispensed. The user interface 508 may employ various screens to facilitate user interactions on the beverage dispenser 504 and/or receive a user profile through interaction with a user’s mobile device 552, such as described in commonly owned US patent application Ser. No. 14/485,826, entitled“Product Categorization User Interface for a Dispensing Device,” which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Upon receiving a beverage selection via the user interface 508, a pour button 510 may be activated to dispense the selected beverage from the beverage dispenser 504 via a nozzle 514. For example, the pour button 510 may be an electromechanical button, capacitive touch button, or other button selectable by a user to activate the beverage dispenser 504 to dispense a beverage. While shown as a button, the pour button 510 may alternatively be implemented as a lever or other mechanism for activating the beverage dispenser 504 to dispense a beverage. As shown in FIG. 1, the pour button 510 is separate from the user interface 508.

In some implementations, the pour button 510 may be implemented as a selectable icon in the user interface 508.

In some implementations, the beverage dispenser may also include an ice lever 514. Upon being activated, the ice lever 514 may cause the beverage dispenser 504 to dispense ice through an ice chute (not shown). For beverage dispensers that do not have an ice bin, such as counter-electric or remote recirculation beverage dispensers, the ice lever 514 may be omitted.

The beverage dispenser 504 may be secured via a primary door 516 and an ingredient door 518. The primary door 516 and the ingredient door 518 may be secured via one or more locks. In some implementations, the locks are a lock and key. In some implementations, the lock on the ingredient door 518 may be opened via an RFID reader (not shown) reading an authorize ingredient package 528. The primary door 516 may secure electronic components of the beverage dispenser 504 including one or more controllers 520. The ingredient door 518 may secure an ingredient compartment that houses an ingredient matrix 524.

The ingredient matrix 524 includes a plurality of slots 526 for receiving ingredient packages 528. In various implementations, the ingredient packages 528 may be micro- ingredient cartridges. The micro-ingredient cartridges may be single cartridges or double cartridges, such as described in commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No.

14/209,684, entitled“Beverage Dispenser Container and Carton,” and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/494,427, entitled“Container Filling Systems and Methods,” which are both herein incorporated by reference in their entirety. As shown in FIG. 1, there are three drawers of ingredients in the ingredient matrix 524. One or more of the drawers may slide back and forth along a rail so as to periodically agitate the ingredients housed on the drawer. Other configurations of the ingredient matrix 524 are possible, such as via one or more static and/or agitated ingredient towers.

Each ingredient package 528 may comprise an RFID tag, a fitment 530, and a fitment seal 532. The fitment seal 532 may be removed prior to installation into the beverage dispenser 504. Upon installation, the fitment 530 may engage with and provide a fluidic communication between a probe (not shown) in the slot 526 and the ingredients contained in the ingredient package 528. The ingredient matrix 524 may also contain one or more large volume micro-ingredient packages 534, such as for one or more micro-ingredient sweetener sources.

The beverage dispenser 504 may also include a carbonator (not shown) for receiving water and carbon dioxide to produce carbonated water. The beverage dispenser 504 may also include one or more heat exchangers (not shown), such as a cold plate, for cooling one or more of the beverage ingredients contained in or received by the beverage dispenser 504. In some implementations, one or more of the micro-ingredients dispensed via the nozzle 512 are not cooled via the heat exchanger or are otherwise maintained at an ambient temperature. Macro-ingredients dispensed via the nozzle 512 are typically cooled via the heat exchanger prior to being dispensed.

The back room system 506 is typically located in a back room remote from the front room system 502, such as a storage area in a merchant location. The back room system 506 includes a water source 536 such as a municipal water supply that provides a pressurized source of plain water. The water received via the water source 536 may be filtered or otherwise treated by a water treatment system 538. The treated water may optionally be pressurized to a desired pressure with a water booster 540 and supplied to the beverage dispenser. A carbon dioxide source 542 may supply carbon dioxide to the beverage dispenser 504.

One or more macro-ingredient sources 544 may be located in the back room. The macro-ingredient from each macro-ingredient source 544 may be supplied to the beverage dispenser 504 via a pump 546. The pump 546 may be a controlled gear pump, diaphragm pump, BIB pump, or any other suitable pump for supplying macro-ingredients to the beverage dispenser 504. The back room system 506 may also include a rack with one or more storage locations 548 for spare micro-ingredients and one or more storage locations 550 for spare macro-ingredients.

The beverage dispenser 504 may include one or more network interfaces for communicating directly with devices in the front room or the back room, communicating with devices in the front room or the back room in a local area network (LAN), or communicating with devices remote from a location with the beverage dispenser system 500 via a wide area network (WAN) connection. For example, the beverage dispenser 504 may include networking devices such as a near field communication (NFC) module, a

BLUETOOTH module, a WiFi module, a cellular modem, an Ethernet module, and the like. The beverage dispenser 504 may communicate via a direct communication or via a LAN with a user’s mobile device 552 or a point-of-sale (POS) device 554 to receive a beverage selection or user profile of a user for configuring the beverage dispenser 504 to dispense one or more beverages based on the beverage selection or user profile. The user profile may include stored favorite beverages for the user, mixed or blended beverages created or stored by the user in their profile, and/or one or more beverage preferences, such as preferred nutritive level. The beverage dispenser 504 may also communicate via a WAN 556 for communicating with one or more remote servers 558 to receive software updates, content updates, user profiles, or beverage selections made via the remote server 558.

FIGS. 2-4 illustrate exemplary fluidic circuits 600-800 with pumping or metering devices from ingredient sources 602, 702, 802 to the nozzle 512 of the beverage dispenser 504. The beverage dispenser 504 may include none, one, or a plurality of the fluidic circuits shown in FIGS. 6-8. For each ingredient source, the beverage dispenser 504 may include one of the fluidic circuits shown in FIGS. 6-8. For example, each of the pumping or metering devices 108, 110, 112 may be implemented as one of the fluidic circuits shown in FIGS. 6-8.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit 600 with a positive displacement pump 610 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. The fluidic circuit 600 provides a fluid path from the ingredient source 602 to the nozzle 512. The ingredient source 602 may be a micro-ingredient source or a macro-ingredient source housed in the ingredient matrix 524 of the beverage dispenser 504, remote from the beverage dispenser 504 in the front room (e.g., adjacent to the beverage dispenser 504 or under a counter on which the beverage dispenser 504 is located), or located in the back room. The positive

displacement pump 610 may meter a predetermined volume or flow rate of ingredient from the ingredient source 602 to the nozzle 512. The positive displacement pump 610 may be a piston pump, controlled gear pump, peristaltic pump, nutating pump, diaphragm pump, or other such positive displacement pump for metering a fixed volume of flow rate of a fluid with each cycle of the pump.

The fluidic circuit 600 may optionally include a sold-out sensor 604 for detecting when the ingredient source 602 is empty. When the ingredient source 602 is remotely located from the beverage dispenser 504, the fluidic circuit 600 may also optionally include an auxiliary pump 606 for providing a pressurized supply of the beverage ingredient to the beverage dispenser 504. Within or immediately adjacent to the beverage dispenser 504, the fluidic circuit 600 may include a pressure regulator 608 such that the inlet of the positive displacement pump 610 receives a lower or zero pressure supply of beverage ingredient. The fluidic circuit 600 may also optionally include a shut-off valve 612 that is configured to remain closed when an ingredient is not being dispensed so as to prevent beverage ingredient from dripping from the nozzle 512.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit 700 with a static mechanical flow control 708 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. The static mechanical flow control 708 receives a pressurized beverage ingredient from an ingredient source 702 and provides a fixed flow rate of the beverage ingredient to the nozzle 512. The static mechanical flow control 708 may be calibrated with a set screw for configuring the flow rate of the static mechanical flow control 708. A shut-off valve 710 downstream of the static mechanical flow control 708 may be actuated to open and close in order to dispense or prevent dispensing the beverage ingredient from the nozzle 512.

The ingredient source 702 may be a micro-ingredient source or a macro-ingredient source housed in the ingredient matrix 524 of the beverage dispenser 504, remote from the beverage dispenser 504 in the front room (e.g., adjacent to the beverage dispenser 504 or under a counter on which the beverage dispenser 504 is located), or located in the back room. The ingredient source 702 may also be the municipal water supply 536 or other pressurized ingredient source. When the ingredient source 702 is not pressurized, the fluidic circuit 700 may include a pump 706 for pressurizing the beverage ingredient from the ingredient source 702. The pump 706 may be any pump suitable for pressurizing the beverage ingredient from the ingredient source 702, such as a BIB pump, C02 driven pump, controlled gear pump, or positive displacement pump. The fluidic circuit 700 may also optionally include a sold-out sensor 704 for detecting when the ingredient source 702 is empty.

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit 800 with a dynamic mechanical flow control 808, a flow meter 810, and a shut-off valve 812 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. The dynamic mechanical flow control 808 receives a pressurized beverage ingredient from an ingredient source 802 and provides an adjustable flow rate of the beverage ingredient to the nozzle 512. The dynamic mechanical flow control 808 may include a variable sized orifice that adjusts to dynamically change the flow rate of the beverage ingredient supplied to the nozzle 512 based on control signals provided by the one or more controllers 520. A flow meter 810 downstream of the dynamic mechanical flow control 808 measures a flow rate of the beverage ingredient being supplied by the dynamic mechanical flow control 808 and provides a feedback loop to the dynamic mechanical flow control 808 for controlling the variable sized orifice. A shut-off valve 812 downstream of the dynamic mechanical flow control 808 may be actuated to open and close in order to dispense or prevent dispensing the beverage ingredient from the nozzle 512.

The ingredient source 802 may be a micro-ingredient source or a macro-ingredient source housed in the ingredient matrix 524 of the beverage dispenser 504, remote from the beverage dispenser 504 in the front room (e.g., adjacent to the beverage dispenser 504 or under a counter on which the beverage dispenser 504 is located), or located in the back room. The ingredient source 802 may also be the municipal water supply 536 or other pressurized ingredient source. When the ingredient source 802 is not pressurized, the fluidic circuit 800 may include a pump 806 for pressurizing the beverage ingredient from the ingredient source 802. The pump 806 may be any pump suitable for pressurizing the beverage ingredient from the ingredient source 802, such as a BIB pump, C02 driven pump, controlled gear pump, or positive displacement pump. The fluidic circuit 800 may also optionally include a sold-out sensor 804 for detecting when the ingredient source 802 is empty.

While the components of the fluidic circuits 600-800 are shown in a particular order in FIGS. 2-4, any order of the components described above may be used. For example, the shut-off valve 812 may be upstream of the flow meter 810. Other variations are readily recognizable by those of ordinary skill in the art. Additionally, one or more heat exchangers (not shown) may be used at any location in the fluidic circuits of FIGS. 6-8. The heat exchanger may include an ice bin, water bath, cold plate, or remote recirculation system.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary fluidic circuit 900 with a plurality of independently controlled paths from a single ingredient source 902 to the nozzle 512 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. The fluidic circuit 900 includes a manifold 904 for supplying beverage ingredient to each of the independently controlled paths. Each path includes a pumping or metering device 906, 908, 910 for supplying beverage ingredient from the ingredient source 902 to the nozzle 512. The pumping or metering devices 906, 908, 910 may be configured as any of the fluidic circuits 600-800 shown in FIGS. 6-8. By having multiple independent paths from the ingredient source 902 to the nozzle 512, a larger range of flow rates are possible than using any one of the pumping or metering devices 906, 908, 910. For example, for a first flow rate of beverage ingredient from the ingredient source, only one of the pumping or metering devices 906, 908, 910 may be activated. For a second flow rate of the beverage ingredient from the ingredient source, a plurality of the pumping or metering devices 906, 908, 910 may be activated.

FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of a control architecture 1000 that may be used to control the beverage dispenser 504 suitable for implementing the several embodiments of the disclosure. As shown in FIG. 6, control architecture 1000 may comprise a core dispense module (CDM) 1006, a human machine interface (HMI) module 1004, a user interface (UI) 1002, and a machine bus (MBUS) 1005. HMI 1004 may connect to or otherwise interface and communicate with at least one external device (e.g., mobile device 552 or POS 554) being external to beverage dispenser 504. HMI 1004 may also control and update display screens on UI 1002. CDM 1006 may control flows from a plurality of pumps and/or valves 1010 in beverage dispenser 504 according to a recipe to mix and dispense a product (e.g., a beverage) from beverage dispenser 504.

Beverage ingredients (e.g., micro-ingredients, macro-ingredients, and/or diluents) may be combined to dispense various products that may include beverages or blended beverages (i.e., finished beverage products) from beverage dispenser 504. However, beverage dispenser 504 may also be configured to dispense beverage components individually.

An example of control architecture 1000 for beverage dispenser 504 may be described in U.S. Serial No. 61/987,020, entitled“Dispenser Control Architecture”, filed on May 1, 2014, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference. MBUS 1005 may facilitate communication between HMI 1004 and CDM 1006 via one or more API calls. HMI 1004, MBUS 1005, and CDM 1006 may collectively comprise common core components, implemented as hardware or as combination of hardware and software, which may be adapted to provide customized functionality in beverage dispenser 504. Beverage dispenser 504 may further include memory storage and a processor. Examples of UI 1002 may be described in U.S. Serial No. 61/877,549, entitled“Product Categorization User Interface for a Dispensing Device”, filed on September 13, 2013, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

UI 1002 may detect what area of a touch screen has been touched by a user (e.g., user 108). In response, UI 1002 may send HMI 1004 data regarding where the touch screen was touched. In response, HMI 1004 may interpret this received data to determine whether to have UI 1002 display a different UI screen or to issue a command to CDM 1006. For example, HMI 1004 may determine that the user touched a portion of the touch screen corresponding to a beverage brand. In response, HMI 1004 may issue a command to CDM 1006 to pour the corresponding beverage brand. In response to receiving the command to pour the corresponding beverage brand, the CDM 1006 in turn issues commands via one or more control buses 1008 to the pumping or metering devices 1010 for the beverage ingredients needed to dispense the beverage brand. Or HMI 1004 may determine that the user touched a portion of the touch screen corresponding to a request for another screen. In response, HMI 1004 may cause UI 1002 to display the requested screen.

In some embodiments, UI 1002 in beverage dispenser 504 may be utilized to select and individually dispense one or more beverages. The beverages may be dispensed as beverage components in a continuous pour operation whereby one or more selected beverage components continue to be dispensed while a pour input is actuated by a user or in a batch pour operation where a predetermined volume of one or more selected beverage components are dispensed (e.g., one ounce at a time). UI 1002 may be addressed via a number of methods to select and dispense beverages. For example, a user may interact with UI 1002 via touch input to navigate one or more menus from which to select and dispense a beverage. As another example, a user may type in a code using an onscreen or physical keyboard (not shown) on beverage dispenser 504 to navigate one or more menus from which to select and dispense a beverage. As a further example, a user may interact with the HMI 1004 via a user interface of an application on the mobile device 552.

UI 1002, which may include a touch screen and a touch screen controller, may be configured to receive various commands from a user (i.e., consumer input) in the form of touch input, generate a graphics output and/or execute one or more operations with beverage dispenser 504 (e.g., via HMI 1004 and/or CDM 1006), in response to receiving the aforementioned commands. A touch screen driver in HMI 1004 may be configured to receive the consumer or customer inputs and generate events (e.g., touch screen events) that may then be communicated through a controller to an operating system of HMI 1004.

Beverage dispenser 504 may be in communication with one or more external device (e.g., mobile device 552 or POS 554). In some embodiments, the communication between beverage dispenser 504 and the external device may be accomplished utilizing any number of communication techniques including, but not limited to, near-field wireless technology such as BLUETOOTH, Wi-Fi and other wireless or wireline communication standards or technologies, via a communication interface.

While several embodiments have been provided in the present disclosure, it should be understood that the disclosed systems and methods may be embodied in many other specific forms without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. The present examples are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the intention is not to be limited to the details given herein. For example, the various elements or components may be combined or integrated in another system or certain features may be omitted or not implemented.

Also, techniques, systems, subsystems, and methods described and illustrated in the various embodiments as discrete or separate may be combined or integrated with other systems, modules, techniques, or methods without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. Other items shown or discussed as directly coupled or communicating with each other may be indirectly coupled or communicating through some interface, device, or intermediate component, whether electrically, mechanically, or otherwise. Other examples of changes, substitutions, and alterations are ascertainable by one skilled in the art and could be made without departing from the spirit and scope disclosed herein.