Patent Pick: RTD Bubble Tea


According to these inventors, in China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), bubble tea with an abundant selection of different bubble bits is popular. This milk tea is typically blended with black tea soup, milk and sugar. Such products are generally freshly prepared and served on a per-order or per-customer basis, in small bubble tea shops and quick-serving restaurants. This limited availability can be inconvenient for customers.

Traditionally, tapioca balls are used for bubble tea but recently, particulates such as jelly chunks, red beans and nata de coco are increasing in popularity. Unfortunately, traditional bubble tea is not shelf-stable. The tapioca balls readily disintegrate in the aqueous beverage shortly after serving. This also limits the choice of beverage in which the tapioca balls are served (e.g., no sparkling beverages).

A new patent application from Coca-Cola, however, describes an invention to develop shelf-stable, ready-to-drink (RTD) bubble teas with satisfactory mouth feel and stability; answering an unmet need in the beverage industry.

Dual-texture bubble bits
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/130507 
Publication date: Aug. 18, 2016
Assignee: The Coca-Cola Company 

This invention provides compositions and methods for making dual-texture bubble bits that are shelf-stable in RTD beverages, and provide a bursting and chewy mouth-feel sensation.

The production method may include combining an outer layer of high "G" alginate with high "M" alginate or pectin, and an inner layer including fruit puree/juice with gum and insoluble calcium salt to simulate the organoleptic properties of fresh bubble tea starch balls.

Patent application accessed Aug., 19, 2016.

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