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United States Patent Application 20170283163
Kind Code A1
Gatewood; Rebecca J. ;   et al. October 5, 2017

BEVERAGE POD

Abstract

A recyclable beverage pod for use in beverage machine. The pod has a base with an elevated portion. The base is configured to be pierced by the beverage machine, and the elevated portion has an elevation height greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine. A sidewall extends upwardly from an outer edge of the base surface and has an upper rim. A lid is sealingly coupled to the upper rim and cooperates with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume. The lid is configured to be pierced by the beverage machine. A removable, closed filter contains a beverage medium and is disposed within the interior volume. The filter is at least partially supported by the elevated portion.


Inventors: Gatewood; Rebecca J.; (Waukesha, WI) ; Gatewood; Jessica L.; (Waukesha, WI) ; Willer; Hannah R.; (Brookfield, WI) ; Wessel; Natalie A.; (Milwaukee, WI) ; Johnson; Janelle A.; (Elm Grove, WI) ; Johnson; Emma G.; (Elm Grove, WI) ; Johnson; Claire E.; (Elm Grove, WI) ; Beyer; Hailey A.; (West Allis, WI) ; Hicks; Aleksey R.; (Wauwatosa, WI)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Gatewood; Rebecca J.
Gatewood; Jessica L.
Willer; Hannah R.
Wessel; Natalie A.
Johnson; Janelle A.
Johnson; Emma G.
Johnson; Claire E.
Beyer; Hailey A.
Hicks; Aleksey R.

Waukesha
Waukesha
Brookfield
Milwaukee
Elm Grove
Elm Grove
Elm Grove
West Allis
Wauwatosa

WI
WI
WI
WI
WI
WI
WI
WI
WI

US
US
US
US
US
US
US
US
US
Family ID: 1000002284426
Appl. No.: 15/345881
Filed: November 8, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62317517Apr 2, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: B65D 85/8043 20130101; B65D 2543/00833 20130101; B65D 43/02 20130101
International Class: B65D 85/804 20060101 B65D085/804; B65D 43/02 20060101 B65D043/02

Claims



1. A recyclable beverage pod comprising: a base having a base surface with an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevation height greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; a sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base surface, the sidewall having an upper rim; a lid sealingly coupled to the upper rim and cooperating with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine; and a removable, closed filter containing a beverage medium and disposed within the interior volume, the filter being at least partially supported by the elevated portion above the piercing height.

2. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the filter is separate from and not connected to the base, the sidewall or the lid.

3. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the filter is crimped from two or more distinct parts.

4. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the filter is at least partially supported by the sidewall.

5. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the elevation height relative to the base surface exceeds about 0.5 inches.

6. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the base and the sidewall are substantially rigid.

7. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the sidewall, the base and the lid are formed of recyclable materials.

8. The beverage pod of claim 7, wherein the sidewall and the base are each formed of a material selected from the group consisting of aluminum and plastic.

9. The beverage pod of claim 1, wherein the sidewall includes one or more ribs.

10. A recyclable beverage pod comprising: a base having a planar portion and an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevated height relative to the planar portion greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; a sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base, the sidewall having an upper rim; a lid sealingly coupled to the upper rim and cooperating with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine; and a removable, closed, self-contained filter separate from and not connected to the base, the sidewall, and the lid, the filter containing a beverage medium and being disposed within the interior volume, the filter being supported by the elevated portion.

11. The beverage pod of claim 10, wherein the lid is heat-sealed, crimped or adhered by food-safe adhesive to the rim.

12. The beverage pod of claim 10, wherein the filter is formed of a material selected from the group consisting of mesh, cotton and paper.

13. The beverage pod of claim 10, wherein the base and the sidewall are substantially rigid.

14. The beverage pod of claim 10, wherein the lid has a tab extending outwardly from the rim and engageable by a user to at least partially separate the lid from the rim.

15. The beverage pod of claim 10, wherein the sidewall and the base are each made of a material selected from the group consisting of aluminum and plastic.

16. A recyclable beverage pod comprising: an aluminum base having a planar portion and an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevated height relative to the planar portion greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; an aluminum sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base, the sidewall having an upper rim; and an aluminum lid sealingly and removably coupled to the upper rim and cooperating with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine.

17. The beverage pod of claim 16, wherein the sidewall has at least one rib between the outer edge and the upper rim.

18. The beverage pod of claim 16, wherein the elevated height exceeds 0.5 inches.

19. The beverage pod of claim 16, further comprising a removable, closed filter containing a beverage medium and disposed within the interior volume, the filter being at least partially supported by the elevated portion.

20. The beverage pod of claim 19, wherein the filter is separate from and not connected to the base, the sidewall or the lid.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/317,517, filed on Apr. 2, 2016, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates to beverage pods and, more particularly, to recyclable beverage pods.

SUMMARY

[0003] The present disclosure is generally directed to single-serve beverage pods. Such pods contain a beverage medium, such as coffee grounds, oil, etc., within a container. Beverage pods, such as the Keurig K-Cup.RTM. pod, are used in beverage machines adapted to receive the pods and dispense a beverage, such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc., from the pod and into a cup.

[0004] One in every three Americans have a pod coffee machine. Pod coffee machines create ten times more waste than drip coffee machines. Typically, the material from which the container is formed is not recyclable. For example, the cup-portion of the K-Cup.RTM. pod is made of #7 plastic, meaning this material can only be recycled in a few places around the world. According to one source, in 2014 enough non-recyclable K-Cup.RTM. pods were sold that, if placed end-to-end, the pods would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of these K-Cup.RTM. pods end up in landfills. Each year more than nine billion K-Cup.RTM. pods are thrown out and, as of the date of the present application, more than sixty billion K-Cup.RTM. pods are in landfills worldwide.

[0005] Additionally, in most pods for use in pod coffee machines, the used beverage medium and the filter material retaining the medium is attached to and irremovable from the container for recycling. Even if the lid is removed it is difficult to remove the filter, which is attached to the cup. Further, because the filter is not closed around the beverage medium, once the lid is removed the beverage contents can spill out of the cup and onto the floor or machine.

[0006] In one independent aspect, a recyclable beverage pod may generally include a base having a base surface with an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevation height greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; a sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base surface and has an upper rim; a lid sealingly coupled to the upper rim and cooperates with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine, and a removable, closed filter containing a beverage medium and disposed within the interior volume, the filter being at least partially supported by the elevated portion above the piercing height.

[0007] In another independent aspect, a recyclable beverage pod may generally include a base with a planar portion and an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevated height relative to the planar portion greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; a sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base and has an upper rim; a lid sealingly coupled to the upper rim and cooperating with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine; and a removable, closed, self-contained filter separate from and not connected to the base, the sidewall, or the lid, the filter containing a beverage medium, being disposed within the interior volume, and being supported by the elevated portion.

[0008] In yet another independent aspect, a recyclable beverage pod may generally include an aluminum base having a planar portion and an elevated portion, the base being configured to be pierced by a beverage machine, the elevated portion having an elevated height relative to the planar portion greater than a piercing height of the beverage machine; an aluminum sidewall extending upwardly from an outer edge of the base, the sidewall having an upper rim and at least one rib between the outer edge and the upper rim; and an aluminum lid sealingly and removably coupled to the upper rim and cooperating with the base and the sidewall to define an interior volume, the lid being configured to be pierced by the beverage machine.

[0009] Other independent features and independent aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the following detailed description, claims and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a beverage pod.

[0011] FIG. 2 is a side view of the beverage pod.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the beverage pod, taken generally along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the beverage pod with the lid removed and hidden lines illustrating the elevated portion.

[0014] FIG. 5 is a top view of the beverage pod with the lid, filter and beverage medium removed.

[0015] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a filter.

[0016] FIG. 7 is a top perspective exploded view of the beverage pod.

[0017] FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective exploded view of the beverage pod.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] Before any independent embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other independent embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0019] FIGS. 1-8 illustrate a beverage pod 10 containing a beverage medium M. In at least some aspects, the beverage pod 10 is recyclable after use. The beverage pod 10 is used in a beverage machine (not shown) adapted to receive the pod 10 and similar pods (not shown) and dispense a beverage. The machine may be similar to the brewing system disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,398,726, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

[0020] The illustrated pod 10 includes a base 14, a sidewall 18, and a lid 22 cooperating to define an interior volume 26. A filter 30 containing the beverage medium M is disposed within the interior volume 26. The beverage pod 10 is configured to be positioned within the beverage machine so that a beverage can be dispensed from the pod 10 into a container, such as a cup, a carafe, etc. (not shown). In some aspects, the base 14, the sidewall 18, and the lid 22 are all formed from recyclable material(s) in compliance with recycling regulations and guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and of similar agencies in other countries. The filter 30 and beverage medium M are removable from the beverage pod 10 so the beverage pod 10 may be recycled after dispensing a beverage. In some aspects, the pod 10 can include the beverage medium M without the filter 30. For example, when cocoa powder is used as the beverage medium M it does not need to be contained within the filter 30 because the cocoa powder dissolves in liquid dispensed by the beverage machine.

[0021] The base 14 has a base surface 34 that is flat, curvilinear, or any other shape that permits the pod 10 to rest upon a surface within the beverage machine or on a support surface such as a counter (not shown). The base 14 is configured to be pierced by a lower piercing member (not shown), such as a needle, of the beverage machine. The lower piercing member has a piercing height defined by the vertical distance between the base surface 34 and the highest vertical point which the lower piercing member reaches within the interior volume 26.

[0022] The base 14 also has an elevated portion 38 extending upwardly from the base surface 34. The illustrated elevated portion 38 has a linear portion 42 connected to the base surface 34 and a curved top portion 46. The illustrated arrangement provides the elevated portion 38 with a relatively greater height compared to its width.

[0023] The elevated portion 38 is configured to act as a platform on which the filter 30 is supported. The elevated portion 38 has an elevation height H defined by the vertical distance between the base surface 34 and the highest vertical point which the elevated portion 38 reaches within the interior volume 26.

[0024] In at least some aspects, the elevation height H of the elevated portion 38 is greater than the piercing height so that, when the lower piercing member pierces the base surface 34, the lower piercing member does not pierce the filter 30 supported by the elevated portion 38. In this manner, when the lower piercing member pierces the base surface 34, the filter 30 remains intact and beverage medium M does not spill or escape into the interior volume.

[0025] The elevation height H is between approximately 0.1 inches and approximately 1.0 inches (about 6% to about 58% of the height of the pod 10). In the illustrated construction, the elevation height H is about 0.6 inches (e.g., about 35% of the height of the pod 10). The width of the illustrated elevated portion 38 is about 0.8 inches at the base surface 34 (about 50% of the width of the base surface) and tapers to about 0.7 inches at its top.

[0026] The elevated portion 38 is arranged so as to ensure the liquid from the beverage machine will contact the filter 30 and the beverage medium M within the filter 30. In the illustrated construction, the filter 30 is supported by the elevated portion 38 and is not attached in any way to the base 14, sidewall 18, or lid 22. However, the filter 30 may also be at least partially supported by the sidewall 18.

[0027] The sidewall 18 extends upwardly from an outer edge 50 of the base 14, and, in the illustrated construction, also extends outwardly from the outer edge 50 of the base 14. In the illustrated construction, the sidewall 18 extends outwardly at an angle .THETA. from the horizontal. In the illustrated construction the angle .THETA. is about 95.9 degrees. The sidewall 18 terminates vertically at an upper rim 54 which, along with the lid 22, defines a top of the beverage pod 10.

[0028] The sidewall 18 may include one or more ribs 56 (three shown) to, for example, enhance the structural rigidity of the pod 10, provide a seal between the filter 30 and sidewall 18, provide a fluid path, etc. The one or more ribs 56 are disposed between the outer edge 50 of the base 14 and the upper rim 54. The ribs 56 may be uniformly spaced about the circumference of the sidewall 18.

[0029] The base 14 and the sidewall 18 are formed of the same material and together as a single piece to form the body of the pod 10. The base 14 and the sidewall 18 are formed to be sufficiently and substantially rigid to, for example, retain its shape, withstand the heat applied when the beverage pod 10 is used within the beverage machine, etc. In some aspects, the base 14 and the sidewall 18 are made from the same recyclable material, such as aluminum (e.g., 1100 or 3003 aluminum alloys) or plastic. As illustrated, the base 14 and the sidewall 18 are formed together, through a process such as deep drawing.

[0030] The lid 22 is attached to the sidewall 18 (e.g., to the upper rim 54) to seal the interior volume 26, for example, by heat-sealing, crimping, an adhesive (approved food-safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA")), etc. The lid 22 is constructed to be pierced by an upper piercing member (not shown), such as a needle, of the beverage machine. In the illustrated construction, the lid 22 is made from recyclable material such as aluminum (e.g., aluminum foil).

[0031] The lid 22 is at least partially separable from the sidewall 18 to open the interior volume 26. As illustrated, the lid 22 includes one or more tabs or wings 58 (one shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 7 and 8) extending from the upper rim 54 of the sidewall 18. For storage or other purposes, the tab(s) 58 may be moved from the extended position and folded inwardly as shown in FIG. 1. However, when the tab(s) 58 are moved into the extended position, a person can easily grab the tab(s) 58 to separate or peel the lid 22 from the upper rim 54.

[0032] The exterior of the lid 22 is printed (not shown) with artwork, branding, beverage medium information, etc., to help a person quickly identify the beverage pod selected. Due to its construction, an exterior side of the sidewall 18 may also printed (not shown) with similar or other information.

[0033] As mentioned above, the filter 30 contains a beverage medium M such as coffee grounds and oil, tea leaves, etc. The illustrated filter 30 is closed and self-contained, such that it surrounds and retains the beverage medium M, preventing the beverage medium from spilling if the pod 10 is opened.

[0034] The filter 30 is separate from and not connected to the base 14, the sidewall 18 or the lid 22. The filter 30 is supported on the elevated portion 38 in a position outside the range of the lower piercing member. While separate from the sidewall 18 in the illustrated construction, the filter 30 may be partially supported by the sidewall 18.

[0035] The filter 30 is formed of a single material such as mesh, cotton, paper, etc. Alternatively, the filter 30 may be formed from two or more materials, two or more types of paper, two or more types of mesh, etc. For example, a top part of the filter could be formed from a paper that is more porous than the paper that is used to form the rest of the filter. To contain the beverage medium M within the filter 30, the filter 30 is crimped around the beverage medium M. In this manner, the filter 30 totally encapsulates the beverage medium M. In some aspects, the filter is crimped from two or more distinct parts of the same material. In other aspects, the filter is crimped from two or more distinct materials. The filter 30 is manufactured in bag, ball, or pouch form.

[0036] To assemble the beverage pod 10, the filter 30 is filled with beverage medium M and closed. The closed, filled filter 30 is then placed into the interior volume 26 of the beverage pod 10 and supported on the elevated portion 38. If the beverage medium M does not require the filter 30, the beverage medium M is put directly into the interior volume 26 without the filter 30. The lid 22 is sealed to the upper rim 54 of the sidewall 18, and the beverage pod 10 is assembled.

[0037] In use, the beverage pod 10 is inserted into the beverage machine, and the machine is operated to dispense a beverage. As mentioned above, the base 14 is pierced by the lower piercing member of the beverage machine while the lid 22 is pierced by the upper piercing member. The elevated portion 38 maintains the filter 30 out of contact with the lower piercing member.

[0038] The beverage machine will then dispense a liquid, typically hot water, into the beverage pod 10 through the first aperture in the lid 22. The liquid enters the interior volume 26 of the beverage pod 10 and contacts the beverage medium M by seeping through the filter 30. The liquid picks up the essence of the beverage medium M and then flows or drains out the second aperture of the base 14 and into a beverage container to be consumed. If the beverage medium M, such as cocoa powder, was put in without the filter 30, the powder of the beverage medium M dissolves in the liquid that enters the interior volume 26 and then flows or drains out the second aperture of the base 14 and into a beverage container to be consumed.

[0039] Once the beverage is dispensed and the beverage pod 10 is to be disposed, the pod 10 is removed from the machine (e.g., by gripping the upper rim 54 and/or the tab(s) 58). The lid 22 is separated from the sidewall 18 (e.g., by peeling by grasping the tab(s) 58) to open the interior volume 26. The beverage pod 10 is upended to dump the separate closed filter 30 and its contents into a waste receptacle or a compost pile. Once the filter 30 and beverage medium M has been disposed or composted, the remaining components of the beverage pod 10 (e.g., the base 14, the sidewall 18 and the lid 22) may be recycled.

[0040] Thus, the invention may generally provide a recyclable beverage pod. The beverage pod may have a base with an elevated portion supporting a filter above a piercing height of a beverage machine. The beverage pod may include a removable, closed, self-contained filter separate from and not connected to the base, the sidewall, or the lid, and containing a beverage medium. The recyclable beverage pod may include an aluminum base, sidewall and lid.

[0041] One or more independent features and/or independent advantages of the invention may be set forth in the following claims:

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