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System for monitoring and controlling the operation of a single serve beverage brewer

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Brendan J. Duffy, Karl T. Winkler, David G. Honan, Jon Taylor, Peter L. Stokes

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

An automated beverage brewing system includes a liquid storage tank and a metering chamber. The metering chamber is at least partially submerged beneath a standing level of liquid in the storage tank. The chamber includes a sealable liquid inlet port communicating with the interior of the storage tank beneath the standing level of liquid. The chamber also includes a liquid outlet port and an aperture that receives compressed air, wherein the compressed air forces liquid from the liquid output port of the chamber for use in preparing a brewed beverage. A pump provides the compressed air and a controller monitors a pressure signal value indicative of the air pressure in the metering chamber. The controller commands the pump on to commence flow of liquid from the metering chamber. The controller then commands the pump off several seconds after detecting a drop in air pressure within the chamber. A baffle is affixed to the distal end of a shaft, which is moved between a first and second position. In the second position the baffle seals a section of the storage tank to form the metering chamber. The system may also include a second brew pump that allows a user to customize the quantity of liquid delivered from the brewing system for a stronger brewed beverage.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view taken through a single serve beverage brewer;

FIGS. 2A-2C are enlarged views showing the illuminated liquid level indicator;

FIG. 3 is a control schematic;

FIG. 4 is a flow chart generally depicting the sequential steps in a brew cycle;

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken through an alternative embodiment single serve beverage brewer;

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustration of the control system associated with the brewer illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIGS. 7A and 7B are flow charts that together illustrate steps performed by the controller of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustration of steps performed by the controller of FIG. 6 to control a interrupt brew pump illustrated in FIG. 5; and

FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustration of a built-in-test (BIT) routine performed by the controller of FIG. 6 to detect faults in the brewer illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 10 is a flow chart illustration of a routine for controlling the liquid heater; and

FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustration of a routine for monitoring the liquid level within the storage tank of the brewer illustrated in FIG.

5.

Claims

1. A brewing system for brewing a beverage from an extract contained in a sealed disposable cartridge, said system comprising:

2. The brewing system of claim 1, wherein said means for delivering comprises:

3. The brewing system of claim 2 wherein said controller commands off said means for delivering to terminate delivery of said compressed air a predetermined time after detecting that said sensed pressure signal value has dropped below a threshold value.

4. The brewing system of claim 3, wherein said means for sealing comprises:

5. The brewing system of claim 2, wherein said means for delivering includes a second air pump that delivers a second flow of compressed air downstream of said second outlet ump in response to a brew interrupt signal received by said controller.

6. The brewing system of claim 4, wherein said means for moving said slideable shaft between said first and second positions comprises:

7. The brewing system of claim 4, wherein said means for moving said slideable shaft between said first and second positions comprises:

8. A system for repeatedly delivering a volume of heated liquid, said system comprising:

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising:

10. The system of claim 9, wherein said controller comprises a central processing unit.

11. The system of claim 10, further comprising:

12. The system of claim 11, further comprising:

13. The system of claim 12, wherein said controller monitors said temperature signal value and commands said heater on if said sensed temperature signal value drops below a lower heating threshold value and commands said heater off if said sensed temperature signal value is greater than an upper heating threshold value.

14. The system of claim 8, wherein said means for moving said slideable shaft comprises an air bladder that receives compressed air from said first pump to move said slideable shaft between said first and second positions.

15. The system of claim 8, wherein said means for moving said slideable shaft comprises an air bladder that receives compressed air from a second pump to move said slideable shaft between said first and second positions.

16. The system of claim 9, wherein said means for moving said slideable shaft comprises:

17. The brewing system of claim 16, further comprising a third air pump that delivers a third flow of compressed air to said flow line upstream of said first pump in response to a brew interrupt signal received by said controller.

18. An automated beverage brewing system that receives a cartridge containing a beverage extract and establishes a liquid flow path through the cartridge to provide a brewed beverage, said system comprising:

19. The brewing system of claim 18, wherein said controller also commands said pump off if said sensed pressure signal value exceeds an upper pressure threshold value.

20. The brewing system of claim 19, further comprising:

21. The brewing system of claim 18, further comprising a second air pump that delivers a second flow of compressed air downstream of said metering chamber outlet port and upstream of said cartridge inlet in response to a brew interrupt signal received by said controller.