US20200093315A1 - Magnetically Driven Beverage Brewing System and Method - Google Patents

Magnetically Driven Beverage Brewing System and Method Download PDF

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US20200093315A1
US20200093315A1 US16/582,553 US201916582553A US2020093315A1 US 20200093315 A1 US20200093315 A1 US 20200093315A1 US 201916582553 A US201916582553 A US 201916582553A US 2020093315 A1 US2020093315 A1 US 2020093315A1
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coffee
water
brew vessel
filter
grounds
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US16/582,553
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Bruce D. Burrows
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Bruce D. Burrows
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Priority to US16/582,553 priority patent/US20200093315A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J31/00Apparatus for making beverages
    • A47J31/22Centrifuges for producing filtered coffee
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23FCOFFEE; TEA; THEIR SUBSTITUTES; MANUFACTURE, PREPARATION, OR INFUSION THEREOF
    • A23F5/00Coffee; Coffee substitutes; Preparations thereof
    • A23F5/24Extraction of coffee; Coffee extracts; Making instant coffee
    • A23F5/26Extraction of water-soluble constituents
    • A23F5/262Extraction of water-soluble constituents the extraction liquid flows through a stationary bed of solid substances, e.g. in percolation columns
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J31/00Apparatus for making beverages
    • A47J31/06Filters or strainers for coffee or tea makers ; Holders therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J31/00Apparatus for making beverages
    • A47J31/18Apparatus in which ground coffee or tea-leaves are immersed in the hot liquid in the beverage container
    • A47J31/20Apparatus in which ground coffee or tea-leaves are immersed in the hot liquid in the beverage container having immersible, e.g. rotatable, filters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J31/00Apparatus for making beverages
    • A47J31/44Parts or details or accessories of beverage-making apparatus
    • A47J31/46Dispensing spouts, pumps, drain valves or like liquid transporting devices
    • A47J31/461Valves, e.g. drain valves
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J43/00Miscellaneous implements for preparing or holding food
    • A47J43/04Machines for domestic use not covered elsewhere, e.g. for grinding, mixing, stirring, kneading, emulsifying, whipping or beating foodstuffs, e.g. power-driven
    • A47J43/046Machines for domestic use not covered elsewhere, e.g. for grinding, mixing, stirring, kneading, emulsifying, whipping or beating foodstuffs, e.g. power-driven with tools driven from the bottom side
    • A47J43/0465Machines for domestic use not covered elsewhere, e.g. for grinding, mixing, stirring, kneading, emulsifying, whipping or beating foodstuffs, e.g. power-driven with tools driven from the bottom side with magnetic drive

Abstract

A coffee brewing system includes a brew vessel adapted to receive water and ground coffee to produce and store a brewed beverage. The brew vessel includes a filter and a magnet stirrer in the lower portion of the brew vessel. The magnet stirrer creates a water vortex for brewing the coffee. The used coffee grounds are allowed to settle on the filter creating a bed of used coffee grounds and the coffee is then filtered through both the bed of used coffee grounds and the filter and collected in a coffee storage container.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present disclosure generally relate to systems and methods for brewing a beverage. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to systems and methods for brewing high quality hot coffee and cold brew coffee in a rapid and convenient manner.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Coffee is a very popular drink that is consumed by a huge number of consumers every day. Typically consumers rely on coffee shops, restaurants, and other places that produce brewed coffee in bulk for consumer consumption. In making large quantities of coffee, typical coffee brewing machines are used that pass heated water through a static bed of coffee grounds to produce a coffee beverage that is collected in a coffee container. This is referred to as a drip coffee maker. The static bed of coffee grounds, which grounds are produced by grinding roasted coffee beans, is typically contained within a disposable paper filter held within a funnel.
  • A static bed of coffee grounds presents numerous problems that negatively affect the coffee made with known brewing machines according to traditional brewing methods. It is difficult to maintain the temperature of the heated water while the heated water passes through a static bed of coffee grounds. The heated water that is introduced at the top of the coffee grounds is hotter than the water and dissolved coffee passing through the bottom of the coffee grounds. That is, as the hot water dripped onto the top of the static bed descends through the bed of grounds it loses heat, and the water is substantially reduced in temperature as it reaches the bottom regions of the static bed of coffee grounds. The temperature drop of the water temperature passing through the static coffee grounds bed creates a temperature gradient that can negatively affect the quality of brewed coffee produced. Among other things, the traditional drip coffee can become bitter and acidic.
  • Additionally, water channels result from water passing through the static bed of coffee grounds. Water channels cause the water to pass through substantially the same parts of the coffee grounds static bed. In addition, exposing the same coffee grounds in the channel causes the water to extract more of the unpleasant chemicals from the coffee grounds and produce undesirable coffee. Further, a portion of the desirable flavor components contained in the remaining coffee grounds not in the channels are not sufficiently extracted, which results in effectively wasting coffee beans and flavor.
  • In addition, used coffee grounds are only usable to produce a certain amount of coffee until the coffee produced becomes undesirable in taste. When the coffee brewing cycle is completed, the used coffee grounds and soggy filters within these filter trays/funnels need to be physically removed. The heavy filter tray needs to be constantly lifted by a worker, taken out, cleaned, and refilled with new filters and coffee grounds. These filter trays with filters are generally positioned near the top of typical coffee brewers to allow gravity to pass water through the grounds and enable dispensing of coffee at a convenient height for workers in a coffee shop. However, having to constantly reach up to the top of these brewing machines to lift, remove and refill filter trays and filters can be a work safety issue for workers.
  • To address the deficiencies associated with the water flowing through a static bed of ground coffee, the patent application to Mazzola, U.S. Patent No. 2005/0008744, discloses a drip type coffee machine that uses a rotating paddle to stir the coffee grounds as the hot water is introduced to coffee grounds. However, the flavor of the coffee that is first created by the flowing of the water through the coffee grounds and then the filter would be stronger than the coffee later created by the flowing of the water through the coffee grounds.
  • In the patent to King, U.S. Pat. No. 5,349,897, a coffee maker for making a single cup of coffee is disclosed in which there is an upper brew vessel and a lower coffee receiving receptacle. A mesh filter is located between the upper brew vessel and the lower coffee receiving receptacle. Ground coffee is inserted into the upper brew vessel and a stream of air is pushed up into the brew vessel by a piston that mixes the coffee grounds and water in the upper chamber during the brewing. After brewing the single cup of coffee, the piston reverses direction and the piston sucks the coffee that is in the upper chamber through the filter into the lower coffee receiving receptacle where it is then dispensed.
  • In the patent application to Fishbein, U.S. Patent No. 2010/0203209, the coffee maker has a brew vessel having a spinning blade or magnetically coupled stirrer in the brew vessel for mixing the water and coffee grounds. The entire contents of the brew vessel is then pumped through filters which separate the used coffee grounds from the coffee and the coffee is then stored in a coffee container.
  • In the patent to Mathieu, U.S. Pat. No. 3,171,344, a coffee maker for use as a coffee vending machine having automatic cleaning is disclosed. The coffee grounds and water are mixed in a brew vessel B. The entire contents of the brew vessel is then deposited into a filter chamber F which includes a conical filter. A rapidly rotating agitator 58 stirs the fluidized slurry. The coffee is separated from the fluidized slurry by the filter F and is collected in a receptacle. Water is then sprayed into the filter chamber F to wash the filter and brew vessel and the used coffee grounds are then ejected from the bottom of the brew vessel into either the sewer system or into a collection chamber.
  • Cold brew coffee does not brew coffee with water that is at a temperature typically used to make hot coffee. Instead, the ground coffee is mixed with water that is at a much lower temperature, closer to room temperature. The ground coffee and the water mixture are held together, typically for 12 to 24 hours. The cold brew coffee is then filtered from the used coffee grounds and chilled, either by insertion into the refrigerator or by adding ice. Due to the long brewing cycle a retail establishment would have to store large amounts of cold brew coffee to meet customer needs. Accordingly, retailers typically use concentrated cold brew and mix it with cold water and ice. The concentrate is not fresh and would typically contain chemical preservatives.
  • In patent application to Yu, 2016/0270587, a cold brew coffee making machine is disclosed in which ground coffee and water are mixed by a spinning blade to create turbulence in the brew vessel. Yu further discloses the removal of the used coffee grounds by a separate filter.
  • The Cuisinart cold brew maker (See www.cuisinart.com) spins coffee grounds and water in a spinning basket, which is made of a filter material, to make cold brew in a home unit. The spinning of the separate basket causes the ground coffee beans to be forced against the side of the basket, by centrifugal force. The cycle time for making the cold brew is between approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the strength of the cold brew coffee desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • A summary of various aspects of the present invention follows. This specification uses the following defined terms: “Coffee beans” are roasted coffee beans; “coffee grounds” are roasted coffee beans that are ground, either by the coffee grinder of the present invention, or by a separate coffee grinder; “fluidized slurry” is the mixture of the coffee grounds and water during brewing, either hot or cold; “used coffee grounds” are the grounds that are in the fluidized slurry during and after brewing; “coffee” is the fluid that is obtained after the filtering of the fluidized slurry. The coffee may or may not contain sediment; and “sediment” is particles of the used coffee grounds that pass through the filter, but are not dissolved in the coffee.
  • In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, a brew vessel receives water and coffee grounds to produce a brewed beverage. A portion of the walls of the brew vessel are made of a transparent material, such as heat resistant glass, so that the brewing operation of the coffee is visible. The brew vessel includes a reusable filter, preferably conical, disposed in a lower portion of the brew vessel that is used to filter the coffee from the mixture of coffee grounds and water (fluidized slurry). A magnet stirrer in the lower portion of the brew vessel, coupled to a motor below the magnet stirrer, creates a water vortex for mixing the ground coffee and water and at the same time preventing the small particles of the used coffee grounds from clogging the pores of the filter.
  • Once the magnet stirrer is stopped, the used coffee grounds in the fluidized slurry settle to a lower portion of the brew vessel, covering at least a portion, if not all, of the filter and a bottom butterfly valve. After the used coffee grounds have substantially settled, the coffee is then withdrawn from the brew vessel and stored in a separate coffee container, such as a thermos.
  • The brew vessel is connected to a grounds outlet chute at a bottom portion of the brew vessel adapted to remove the used coffee grounds after the coffee is withdrawn from the brew vessel. A butterfly valve having closed and open positions covers an outlet chute to allow used coffee grounds to enter the outlet chute and then to a drain or a used coffee grounds collector. The butterfly valve is controlled by a motor.
  • There is a significant heat loss to the water in the brew vessel through the glass wall of the brew vessel, and also once the ground coffee is introduced into the water in the brew vessel. To replace the lost heat, the base includes a water circulation heat exchange system for replacing the heat lost.
  • The present invention may also be used to make cold brew coffee. Typically, in making cold brew coffee, the temperature of the water is less than that of the water used for hot coffee.
  • A home version of the present invention is also disclosed in which both hot coffee and cold brew coffee can be made. In the preferred embodiment, the home version would not have an automatic cleaning system, but would have removable components for cleaning. The operation of the home version would otherwise be essentially the same as the industrial version.
  • The above summary has outlined, rather broadly, some features and technical advantages of the present disclosure in order that the detailed description that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the disclosure will be described below. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that this disclosure may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present disclosure. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the teachings of the disclosure as set forth in the appended claims. The novel features, which are believed to be characteristic of the disclosure, both as to its organization of components and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages, will be better understood from the following description when considered in connection with the accompanying figures. It is to be expressly understood, however, that each of the figures is provided for the purpose of illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the present disclosure.
  • OBJECTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
  • It is an object of the present invention to a make smoother coffee.
  • It is another object of the present invention to more effectively extract the flavor of ground coffee.
  • It is still another object of the present invention to make more consistent brewed coffee.
  • It is yet another object of the present invention to more efficiently use the coffee grounds.
  • It is another object of the present invention to make cold brew coffee in less time.
  • It is also another object of the present invention to provide a coffee machine that can make both hot coffee and cold brew coffee.
  • These and other objects of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification and accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • For a more complete understanding of the present disclosure, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a first perspective view of a magnetically driven vortex-producing beverage brewing system in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a first detailed sectioned view along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1 of the magnetically driven beverage brewing system in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an enlarged detailed sectioned view of the lower portion of the magnetically driven beverage brewing system of FIG. 2 in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a schematic sectioned view along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1 of a control and recirculation system for the heating and cooling of the water of the magnetically driven beverage brewing system of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic sectional view of an alternative heat exchange for the brewing system of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a schematic sectioned view of a cleaning system for the magnetically driven beverage brewing system in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates a detailed sectioned view of an alternative embodiment of the magnetically driven beverage brewing system of FIG. 1 with an enlarged bottom grounds chamber in the outlet chute and a recycling system.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a diagrammatic view of the flow of the fluidized bed of coffee during the brewing cycle;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a diagrammatic view of the settled bed of used coffee grounds after the magnet stirrer has stopped;
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a sectional top view of FIG. 1 along lines 10-10 showing the heating/cooling exchanger;
  • FIG.11 illustrates a top perspective view of the housing, spinner and filter of the preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 12 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the components of FIG. 11 supporting the filter;
  • FIG. 13 illustrates the coffee removal line from a beverage brewing system to the coffee container;
  • FIG. 14 illustrates the connection of the coffee removal line to the Y connection in the drain;
  • FIG. 15 illustrates the butterfly valve assembly used during cleaning of the coffee machine;
  • FIG. 16 illustrates a schematic sectioned view of the chilled bean grinder for the magnetically driven beverage brewing system of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 17 illustrates a side sectional view of the home version of the present invention in its closed operating position;
  • FIG. 18 illustrates a side sectional view of the home version of the present invention in which the brew vessel and filter compartment are open;
  • FIG. 19 illustrates a side sectional view of the home version of the present invention in which the brew vessel and filter compartment are separated;
  • FIG. 20 illustrates the top view of the rotatable cover member in its closed position along lines 20-20 of FIG. 17 of the home version of the present invention;
  • FIG. 21 illustrates the top view of the rotatable cover member in its open position along lines 20-20 of FIG. 17 of the home version of the present invention;
  • FIG. 22 illustrates a top sectional view of the rotatable cover member along lines 22-22 of FIG. 17;
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The detailed description set forth below, in connection with the accompanying drawings, is intended as a description of various configurations and is not intended to represent the only configurations in which the concepts described herein may be practiced. The detailed description includes specific details for the purpose of providing a thorough understanding of the various concepts. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art, however, that these concepts may be practiced without these specific details. In some instances, well-known structures and components are shown in block diagram form in order to avoid obscuring such concepts. As described herein, the use of the term “and/or” is intended to represent an “inclusive OR”, and the use of the term “or” is intended to represent an “exclusive OR.”
  • As shown in FIG. 1, the beverage brewing system 100 broadly comprises a brew vessel 102, a cover 104 the top of the brew vessel 102, and a bean grinder assembly 106 disposed on the cover 104. The bean grinder assembly 106 has a grinder assembly housing 107. In addition, the lower portion of the brew vessel 102 is disposed on and within a base 108. The base, in the preferred embodiment, is made of stainless steel. An outlet chute 110 is coupled to and in fluid communication with a second end of the brew vessel 102, opposite the first end beneath the base 108. A housing 112 coupled to the base 108 is adapted to house elements of the beverage brewing system. The base 108 also has a conduit seat 113 that extends from the base 108 and receives a conduit 114 that extends from the conduit seat 113 to the cover portion 104. The conduit 114 is adapted to support the cover 104 and the bean grinder assembly 106, and provides a channel for housing fluid and/or water and electrical lines to allow fluid and/or water and electricity to be supplied to different parts of the beverage brewing system 100 using tubing, electrical wiring, and the like. Water inlets 800 connect to the interior of the brew vessel 102.
  • A portion of the walls of the brew vessel 102 above the base 108 may be made of glass or other transparent material, in order to provide a view of the vortex-producing brewing process. However, the brew vessel 102 may be made of completely opaque material. The brew vessel 102 is capable of handling temperatures of up to and including about 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The brew vessel 102 has a secondary transparent layer disposed on an exterior of the transparent portions of the walls the brew vessel 102. The secondary transparent layer is used for temperature isolation to help maintain a desired temperature for the brewed beverage and leak containment should the brew vessel 102 leak. The secondary transparent layer is an exterior plexiglass tube, a vinyl wrap, a polycarbonate wrap, or the like. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the brew vessel does not necessarily need to be transparent and can instead be opaque or completely non-transparent.
  • The filter 128 shown separately in FIG. 12 includes upper and lower filter seals 237 and 239. The filter 128 is made of nylon, but may be made of other heat resistant materials, such as polymer mesh filter, polyester filter membrane, or the like. Filters with pore sizes in a range of approximately 35 to 40 microns are used in the preferred embodiment. The filter 128 is conical and open at both ends and approximately 4 inches tall with an upper diameter of 9 inches and a lower diameter of 5 inches. Other shapes and dimension may be used as well.
  • As shown in FIG. 12, a conical filter support ring 700 supports the filter 128. The conical filter support ring 700 fits within base 108 and rests on ledge 702. The internal wall 704 of the conical filter support ring 700 is spaced from the filter 128 leaving a narrow opening 706 for passage of the filtered coffee to a coffee accumulation reservoir 164. The external portion 712 of the conical filter support ring 700 creates one wall of the annular heat exchanger 508, and the internal tapered portion 704 forms the other wall of the annular heat exchanger 508. Partition 513 controls the flow of water within the annular heat exchanger 508.
  • As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the brew vessel 102 also includes a magnet stirrer 158 disposed in a lower portion of the brew vessel 102. The magnet stirrer 158 rotates at a speed sufficient to mix the coffee grounds and water under different loads. The speed of the stirrer is preferably fast enough to form a fluid/water vortex. The magnet stirrer is a magnet and may be covered in plastic or other inert material to prevent corrosion from contact with the water during brewing.
  • The magnet stirrer 158 is fitted within a substantially nonmagnetic dish 157 in the bottom of the brew vessel 102. The dish 157 serves to limit the ability of the magnet stirrer 158 from leaving its position in magnetic coupling with the motor 162. In addition, as shown in FIG. 8, during brewing the lip 159 of the dish 157 directs the flow of the fluidized slurry in a generally upward direction that is substantially parallel or tangential to the surface of the filter 128. The magnet stirrer 158 is capable of stirring the water and ground coffee for a selected amount of time, and at different speeds over the period of time based on the beverage desired to be produced. After the coffee brewing cycle, the magnet stirrer 158 is used to agitate the water and cleaning solution to rinse and clean the beverage brewing system 100 as discussed below.
  • The magnet stirrer 158 is magnetically connected to an electromechanical drive system (e.g. motor 162 and drive train 160) positioned outside of the brew vessel to avoid complex sealing mechanisms and/or the need to seal shafts from the exterior to the interior of the brew vessel 102. It should be appreciated that the motor 162 may also directly drive the magnet stirrer 158, without an intervening drive train. As illustrated, the rotating platform and magnet stirrer 158 are rotationally positioned in a substantially centrally located position of the base 108.
  • While a magnet stirrer is described above, it is possible that a motor driven blade system could also be used in its place. Such a blade system would require a waterproof housing for the blade, shaft and bearings, and/or seals for preventing leakage from the brew vessel 102. It is recognized that any seals or metal parts in constant contact with hot water would be subject to deterioration and leakage. The use of a magnet stirrer 158 avoids such leakage.
  • A region surrounding the magnet stirrer 158 and exterior to the filter 128 defines beverage/coffee accumulation reservoir 164 where the brewed beverage accumulates for withdrawal through coffee outlet opening 180 and coffee outlet line 182 by the flexible coffee removal line 129.
  • As shown in FIGS. 4 and 10-12, the base 108 has a surrounding annular heat exchanger 508 to circulate hot water in and out of the annular heat exchanger 508 in order to heat the brew vessel 102 and the fluidized slurry during brewing to the desired temperature. In the event the water is too hot, cooler water is passed from the refrigerator unit 202 and into the annular heat exchanger 508. The hot water, typically approximately 195° F. from a water source 500 heated by a hot water heater 502 is pumped by pump 504, controlled by valve 512, into inlet 506, around the annular heat exchanger 508 and out of outlet 510 and back to the hot water heater 502. Partition 513 controls the direction of the water flow. The pump 504, the valve 512, and the temperature of the water heater 502 and associated valves are all controlled by controller 514.
  • As shown in FIG. 5, in an alternative embodiment, a temperature control tube 204 is coiled around the lower portion of the brew vessel 102 to help maintain the temperature of the water instead of the annular heat exchanger 508 described above. Hot or cooling water would enter the coiled tube 204 at one end 211 and exit the other end 213 of the coiled tube 204. A controller 215 controls the flow of water from the water source 217, the pump 219, the heater 221 the refrigerator system 202 and associated valves.
  • Alternatively the base 108 may be heated by other heat conductive elements (not shown) in addition to or alternatively to heated fluid.
  • In the event additional heating of the fluidized slurry in the brew vessel 102 is found necessary, there is a secondary and independent water circulation system for heating the water in the brew vessel 102, as shown in FIG. 4. Controller 188 controls a recycling tube 196, a hot water heater 502, pump 200, and a refrigerating unit 202 to ensure the water within the brew vessel 102 is at, and maintained at, an optimal temperature for the beverage being brewed. In this embodiment, once the fluid level sensor 192 determines that sufficient water has been dispensed for brewing, the controller 514 causes the recycling tube 196 to be lowered, by motor 173 and flat gear 175 into the brew vessel 102 and the water. The recycling tube 196 is in fluid communication with a pump 200 and periodically (or continuously) draws water from a top portion of the brew vessel 102, where the water may be a cooler temperature than the water at the lower portion of the brew vessel 102, and cycles that drawn water to the heater 198. The system continuously monitors the water temperature by sensor T 193 in the brew vessel 102 until the water reaches the desired temperature.
  • Alternatively, a pump 200 may pump the water to a refrigeration unit 202 to further regulate the temperature of the water in the event the water in the brew vessel 102 is too hot. Fluid may be pumped from the heater 198 or the refrigeration unit 202 to the at least one nozzle 186 in the top of the brew vessel to permit the water to reenter the brew vessel 102. A temperature sensor 206 may be used to determine when the fluid within the brew vessel 102 is at the optimal/desired temperature. When fluid within the vessel is as the desired/selected temperature, the controller 188 causes the recycling tube 196 to be retracted from the water in the brew vessel 102, and coffee grounds can then be added to the brew vessel 102.
  • The above described water circulation system is only used before coffee grounds are added to the brew vessel 102. The withdrawal of the recycling tube 196 before coffee grounds are added to the brew vessel 102 prevents coffee grounds in the fluidized slurry from coming into contact with the interior of the recycling tube 196, avoiding having to clean the water circulation system components.
  • Referring to FIGS. 2, 3, and 15 the outlet chute 110 has at its upper end a butterfly valve assembly 134. The butterfly valve 136 is adapted to actuate between a closed 135 and an open 137 position, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3. The butterfly valve 136 is controlled by motor assembly 111. When in the closed 135 position used coffee grounds are prevented from passing into the outlet chute 110. When in the open 137 position the used coffee grounds G are permitted to pass into the outlet chute 110 to the drain D as shown in detail in FIG. 15.
  • The butterfly valve assembly 134 includes a butterfly valve 136, a butterfly valve supports 140, 144. A screen 139 is positioned above the butterfly valve 136 accessible to a water inlet 141, which in turn is connected to a source of air or water 143. The butterfly valve 136 is disposed within the butterfly valve seat 138 and is actuatable relative to the seat 138 to pivot. The butterfly valve 136 and the butterfly valve seat 138 are housed between butterfly valve assembly housing portions 140, 142.
  • As shown in FIG. 16, the bean grinder assembly 106 includes a bean hopper 168 adapted to store and prepare beans (or other ingredients), e.g., coffee beans, for grinding to produce grounds to be introduced into and used in the beverage brewing system 100 to brew a beverage. The bean hopper 168 is coupled to a grind housing 170 to allow the coffee beans to be dropped into the grind housing 170, where the coffee beans may be ground into beverage (e.g., coffee) grounds, such as by burr grinders. Any other types of grinders can also be used. A bean feeder 171 may be used to create movement within the bean hopper 168 to urge the coffee beans to be pushed into the grind housing 170. A grinding motor 172 is coupled to the grind housing 170 to drive grinders to grind the coffee beans into coffee grounds. The bean grinder assembly 106 has a grounds ramp 174 that is adapted to move to a position to direct coffee grounds dropped from the grind housing through an aperture 176 formed in the cover portion 104 into an appropriate part of the water vortex created by the magnet stirrer 158 in the brew vessel 102 to brew the beverage/coffee. The grinder assembly 106 has a pinion 178 and rack 180 to actuate the bean grinder assembly 106 between an open position where coffee grounds are allowed to enter the brew vessel 102 through the aperture 176 and a closed position where the brew vessel 102 and aperture 176 are sealed.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the bean hopper 168 may have cooling coils 182 disposed around a bottom portion of the bean hopper 168. The cooling coils 182 may be adapted to keep the coffee beans stored in the bean hopper 168 cool, prior to grinding, to produce a higher quality brewed beverage. The cooling coils 182 may be kept cool by a refrigeration unit 184 disposed within or proximate to the grinder assembly housing 107. By way of illustration, a cold air blower 186 may be disposed within or near the grinder assembly housing 107. The cold air blower 186 may be adapted to blow cold air on the coffee beans as they enter the grind housing 170, with a portion of the cold air coming into contact with the grinders to maintain the grinders at a cold temperature. The refrigeration unit 184 and the cold air blower may be controlled by a controller 188.
  • The entire cycle of the coffee beverage brewing system of the present invention will now be described. The brew vessel 102 is filled with water from nozzle 190 to automatically feed a desired amount of water to be used to brew a brewed beverage into the brew vessel 102. In the preferred embodiment, the brew vessel has a capacity of 5 gallons, and is filled with approximately 3 gallons of water for brewing, although it should be appreciated that systems according to the disclosure may be implemented at smaller or larger scale.
  • The nozzle 190 feeds water from water conduit 192 connected to a water source 191. The water source 191 may be any of various sources of water capable of feeding water into the brewing system 100 such as a water tank, reservoir, filtered dispenser, or the like. The water conduit 192 may be any of various types of pipe, tubing, or the like capable of transporting water from the water source 191 to the at least one nozzle 190. The nozzles 190 feed water into the brew vessel 102 until a desired capacity is reached, as determined by a fluid level sensor 194. The fluid level sensor 194 may be any of various sensors capable of detecting a quantity of flow or level of fluid within a container, such as flow sensors, capacitive sensors, optical sensors, strain gages or the like. At the same time, hot water is pumped through the annular heat exchanger 508 to heat the brew vessel 102. Before the ground coffee G is inserted into the brew vessel 102 only water is in the brew vessel 102. Water passes through the filter 128 into the accumulation reservoir 164, filling up the accumulation reservoir, until the coffee is withdrawn. Some coffee may pass through the filter 128 during brewing due to the hydrostatic head of the water as well as due to the pressure from the fluidized slurry being forced against the filter.
  • If the secondary water recycling tube system has been used, once the selected temperature of the water is reached, the controller 188 causes the recycling tube 196 to be withdrawn from the water. As described above, the recycling tube 196 is only used when the annular heat exchanger 508 is insufficient for the water in the brew vessel 102 to be at the selected temperature.
  • The controller 188 then starts the motor 162 to drive the magnet stirrer 158 to form a hot water vortex in the brew vessel 102. Once the water vortex is formed, the bean grinder assembly 106 grinds beans to produce coffee grounds from the stored coffee beans, as described above. The coffee grounds G are fed from the bean grinder assembly 106 into the water vortex in the brew vessel 102 using the grounds ramp 174 to ensure appropriate placement at a swirling edge of the vortex. Once a predetermined amount of coffee grounds has been dropped into the water vortex, the controller 188 actuates the bean grinder assembly 106 into a closed position to seal the aperture 176 to prevent additional coffee grounds from entering the brew vessel 102.
  • Referring to FIG. 8 the flow of the fluidized slurry during brewing is shown. The fluidized slurry is directed outwardly (arrows) by the rotation of the magnet stirrer 158 and is directed by the lip 159 of the dish 157 in a generally upward direction toward the filter 128. The flow of the fluidized slurry passes generally parallel or tangentially to the surface of the filter 128 and then continues in an upward direction until it then is directed toward the top of the fluidized slurry and then towards the center of the vortex created by the magnet stirrer 158. The passage of the fluidized slurry along the surface of the filter 128 acts to brush any sediment or small coffee grounds in the fluidized bed away from the filter 128, preventing the filter from being clogged by the sediment, which is silt like. After a selected period of time the magnet stirrer is stopped. A typical brew time is approximately 8 minutes, but depends on the amount of water used, the amount of coffee grounds used and the desired strength of the coffee. Once the brewing is finished the magnet stirrer 158 is stopped and the used coffee grounds in the fluidized slurry are allowed to settle.
  • The used coffee grounds G are allowed to settle for approximately 2 minutes after the magnet stirrer 158 is turned off. The used coffee grounds settle to the bottom of the brew vessel and on top of the filter and the butterfly valve and in compartment 140. Referring to FIG. 9 an image of the used coffee grounds is shown. The larger sized grounds (L) of the used coffee grounds settle first due to gravity, with the smallest sized grounds settling last (S). The intermediate sized grounds settle in between. The top layer of the used coffee grounds (S) is essentially sediment having a size smaller than the pores or openings in the filter 128. Having the larger of the used coffee grounds (L) settle first on the filter 128 prevents the smallest particles of the used coffee grounds (S) from fitting within the pores of the filter 128 and substantially passing through the filter 128 clogging the openings in the filter 128.
  • Referring to FIGS. 13 and 14, the withdrawal of the coffee from the brew vessel 102 is shown. A coffee removal line 129 is made of a flexible heat resistant material. One end 601 of the coffee removal line 129 is attached to the coffee outlet line 182 which in turn is connected to the accumulation reservoir 164 surrounding the filter 128. A pump 602 is used to speed up the withdrawal of the coffee. The pump 602 operates in cooperation with valve 604. It is possible to have the coffee drip through the filter 128 by gravity, as in the home version, to the coffee removal line 129 without the pump 602, but in a commercial environment this would take too long and would be commercially unacceptable. The other end 606 of the coffee removal line 129 has a quick release valve 608 that is connected to the coffee container 610, which also has a corresponding quick release valve. The quick release valve 608 prevents the hot coffee within the coffee removal line 129 from being discharged when not connected to the coffee container 610. After substantially all of the coffee is withdrawn from the brew vessel 102, the coffee removal line 129 is disconnected from the coffee container 610 and the end 606 of the coffee removal line 129 is connected to the drain through the drain Y connection 611. The input to the drain Y connection 611 also has a quick release valve 609. During cleaning of the brewing system, the coffee removal line 129 is also cleaned and the cleaning fluid passes through the coffee removal line 129 and to the drain Y connection 611.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates the cleaning of the beverage brewing system according to the disclosure. After withdrawing substantially all of a brewed beverage from the brew vessel 102 water is sprayed through nozzles 800 from the top of the brew vessel to wash away any residual coffee grounds G. Further, a soap/cleaning solution may be pumped into the water filling the brew vessel 102. The controller turns on the magnet stirrer 158 to create movement of the cleaning water to aid in the cleaning of the beverage brewing system 100. At the same time, the butterfly valve 136, while in its closed position, has a burst of air or water applied through opening 121 to the screen 139 on the upper portion of the butterfly valve 136 to dislodge any accumulation of used coffee grounds resting on top of the butterfly valve 136. The butterfly valve 136 is then opened, washing the water, cleaning solution and used coffee grounds into the outlet chute 110 and to the drain D. At the same time the butterfly valve 136 is cleaned. The butterfly valve 136 is then closed. A rinse cycle of clean water is then initiated, dispensing hot water into the brew vessel to rinse remaining soap/cleaning solution from inside the brew vessel 102. The butterfly valve 136 is then opened again to discharge the contents to the drain D.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an alternative outlet chute 116 having a first butterfly valve assembly 134 and the second butterfly valve assembly 148 in the bottom grounds chamber 133. As described above, the first butterfly valve assembly 134 actuates between an open position to allow used coffee grounds from the brewing of the beverage in the brew vessel 102 to pass into the bottom grounds chamber 133. The second butterfly valve assembly 148 is disposed adjacent to a second end of the outlet chute 132, and remains closed at the end of the brewing cycle so that grounds descend into the bottom grounds chamber 133 onto the closed second butterfly valve assembly 148. The second butterfly valve assembly has a fine screen. The same as the first butterfly valve 136.
  • After the coffee has been withdrawn and the used coffee grounds have settled a substantially quick burst of water or air loosens used coffee grounds above the first butterfly valve 136 and the first butterfly valve 136 is then opened to allow the dislodged coffee grounds to fall into the bottom grounds chamber 133 as shown in FIG. 7, while the second butterfly valve assembly 148 remains closed. Once substantially all of the dislodged coffee grounds enter the bottom grounds chamber 133, the first butterfly valve 136 is actuated to the closed position to prevent additional used coffee grounds from entering the bottom grounds chamber 133.
  • A line 900 is connected to an opening 902 to the bottom of the grounds chamber 133 and is in fluid communication with an opening 904 at the top of the brew vessel 102, so that the residual brewed beverage may be removed from the bottom grounds chamber 133 by pump 906 back into the brew vessel 102.
  • Once the residual brewed beverage has been pumped back into the brew vessel 102, the second butterfly valve is opened and a burst of water from water supply 139 is adapted to output a substantially quick burst of fluid to dislodge or loosen the used coffee grounds that have collected on top of the second butterfly valve 150 in the bottom grounds chamber 133, similar to the manner the first butterfly valve 136 dislodges or loosens accumulated used coffee grounds as describe above. The residual brewed beverage is then filtered, thereby preventing brewed coffee from being wasted.
  • FIGS. 18-23 show a home version of the present invention. FIG. 18 shows a brew vessel 408; a coffee storage chamber 422 consisting of a standard glass coffee carafe; a water heating chamber 402; a coffee bean grinder 404; and a carafe heating plate 420. A portion of the walls of the brew vessel may be transparent for viewing of the brewing of the coffee. There is an outlet 403 in the water heating chamber 402 and an outlet 407 in the coffee bean grinder 404 that permits the water and the ground coffee beans to be deposited into the brew vessel 408. The brew vessel 408 contains the magnet stirrer 410, operated by a magnetic motor 412 in the base and a filter 409. A controller 500 controls the heating of the water, the grinding of the coffee beans, and valves 406 and 403 for depositing of the water and ground coffee into the brew vessel 408, as well as the amount of time the magnet stirrer 410 is on. A rotatable closure lid 418 is located beneath the brew vessel 408 and above a portion of the frame 401. The rotatable closure lid shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 has openings 419A and 419B so that when its first position the openings 419A and 419B are not in alignment with the openings 421A, 421B, 421C, 421D, 421E, and 421F thereby preventing any fluid from passing through the openings to the carafe 422. When the rotatable closure lid 418 is rotated, by movement of extending handle 423, the openings 419A and 419B align with openings 421A-421F permitting the coffee in the brew vessel 408 to pass into the carafe 422. The brew vessel 408 is held in place by cooperating pins 426 and 428 so that the brew vessel 408 containing the filter and magnet stirrer 410 are removable for cleaning.
  • Referring to FIGS. 19 and 22, a cover 416 for the magnet stirrer 410 is shown. The cover 416 consists of a series of thin wires 414. The top of the cover 416 being pivotable along one end 417 and a clasp 430 at the other end to open the top of the cover 416 and access the magnet stirrer 410. The cover 416 limits dislodgement of the magnet stirrer 410 during brewing and also prevents loss of the magnet stirrer 410 during cleaning of the magnet stirrer 410 and filter 409.
  • The operation of the home version of the present invention is essentially the same as the industrial version described above, after the coffee is in the carafe 422, the heating plate 420 keeps the coffee hot. As with the industrial version, the home version can be used to make cold brew coffee, the controller 500 controls the amount of time that the magnet stirrer 422 operates.
  • Although the present disclosure and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the technology of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims. For example, relational terms, such as “above” and “below” are used with respect to components. Of course, if the component is inverted, above becomes below, and vice versa. Additionally, if oriented sideways, above and below may refer to sides of a component. Moreover, the scope of the present application is not intended to be limited to the particular configurations of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, means, methods and steps described in the specification. As one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the disclosure, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed that perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the corresponding configurations described herein may be utilized according to the present disclosure. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within their scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps.
  • It should be understood that when an element is referred to as being “connected” or “coupled” to another element (or variations thereof), it can be directly connected or coupled to the other element or intervening elements may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being “directly connected” or “directly coupled” to another element (or variations thereof), there are no intervening elements present.
  • Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described herein with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and elements that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of the disclosure. It should be appreciated that in the appended claims, reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more.”
  • The description of the disclosure is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make or use the disclosure. Various modifications to the disclosure will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein may be applied to other variations without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosure. Thus, the disclosure is not intended to be limited to the examples and designs described herein but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein. The following goes at the end of the current detailed description of the invention
  • Although several embodiments have been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. Accordingly, the disclosure is not to be limited by the examples presented herein, but is envisioned as encompassing the scope described in the appended claims and the full range of equivalents of the appended claims.

Claims (10)

What is claimed is:
1. A coffee machine comprising a brew vessel, an input to said brew vessel for water and coffee grounds; a first outlet for brewed coffee, a filter for filtering used coffee grounds from the brewed coffee, a stirrer member in said brew vessel to mix the water and coffee grounds, said stirring member located below at least a portion of said filter.
2. The coffee machine of claim 1 in which the stirrer member creates a flow of the mixture of said water and coffee grounds substantially parallel to the surface of the filter.
3. The coffee machine of claim 1 in which the filter includes openings of approximately 35-75 microns.
4. The coffee machine of claim 1 in which the stirrer member is a magnet.
5. The coffee machine of claim 1 in which there is a second outlet for removal of the used coffee grounds.
6. The coffee machine of claim 5 including a valve which selectively opens and closes said second outlet.
7. The coffee machine of claim 1 including a base in contact with the brew vessel and a heat exchanger in said base, said heat exchanger heated or cooled by circulating water from a water source.
8. A method for making coffee using a brew vessel having a stirrer member, a filter and an outlet comprising the steps of: (1) mixing water and coffee grounds in said brew vessel to create a fluidized slurry; (2) brewing the fluidized slurry; (3) substantially stopping the mixing of the fluidized slurry; (4) having the coffee grounds in the fluidized slurry settle on at least a portion of the filter creating a bed of used coffee grounds; and (5) having the coffee in the fluidized slurry then pass through the bed of settled used coffee grounds and then through a filter to an outlet.
9. The method of claim 8 in which the bed of used coffee grounds includes grounds smaller than the openings in the filter.
10. A coffee machine comprising a brew vessel, a means for stirring water in in the brew vessel, a source of hot water, a controller for controlling the temperature of the source of water, a temperature sensor for sensing the temperature of water in the brew vessel, and a water circulation system comprising a water input into the brew vessel and a water output from the brew vessel and a pump for circulating water from said water output to the source of hot water and back into said water input.
US16/582,553 2018-09-25 2019-09-25 Magnetically Driven Beverage Brewing System and Method Pending US20200093315A1 (en)

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Family Cites Families (8)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3696733A (en) * 1971-05-06 1972-10-10 James H Beverett Automatic dripolator, single compartment
US5551331A (en) * 1995-05-15 1996-09-03 Grindmaster Corporation Espresso apparatus with improved heating of the brew head and boiler
US7677158B2 (en) * 2004-11-03 2010-03-16 Sunbeam Products, Inc. Beverage maker having brewing chamber adapted to receive coffee pods or loose coffee
WO2007027206A2 (en) * 2005-04-11 2007-03-08 Coffee Equipment Company Machine for brewing a beverage such as coffee and related method
US20100288777A1 (en) * 2006-03-23 2010-11-18 Breville Pty Limited Filter Coffee Maker
US20100294135A1 (en) * 2009-05-22 2010-11-25 Michael Weissman Automatic French Press
CN102727098B (en) * 2012-07-02 2014-02-19 深圳市北鼎晶辉科技股份有限公司 Stirring device for coffee machine and coffee machine
WO2014078297A1 (en) * 2012-11-13 2014-05-22 Harvey Levine Stop valve for coffee maker

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