New Dissolvable Milk Capsules Developed For Hot Drinks
The world of private label coffee has been changed forever – researchers from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittinberg have just announced that they’ve successfully developed new milk capsules that dissolve when used with a hot beverage.
They’re produced by using a solution of milk and sugar (or another material, non-sweet, that provides a layer of coating), and putting it in a mould. As this solution cools down, the excess sugar moves to the edges of the liquid and forms crystals. They can be produced in numerous different shapes and can be stored at room temperature – and once encapsulated, they can keep for at least three weeks.
However, it may well be a while before these products come to market as, although a patent was registered for the encapsulating process back in 2015, investigations still need to be done to see if the capsules meet all legal requirements for groceries and whether they can be produced as industrial products.
Team leader Joachim Ulrich said: “We have already studied different encapsulation processes as part of other PhD projects, however with other aims in mind. For example, the capsules could replace the small, extremely unpractical coffee creamer packaging that is used in great quantities at conferences or on airplanes.”
Waste is a big concern for the coffee industry so this kind of product could prove to be quite revolutionary. In March, the Environmental Audit Committee launched an inquiry into the damage that disposable drinks packaging is doing to the environment, with a particular focus on coffee cups and plastic bottles.
It was noted that only about half of the 35 million plastic bottles sold in this country every day are collected for recycling, while about seven million cardboard coffee cups are binned each day – and just one in 400 are recycled. This means more than 6.98 million end up in the environment or going to landfill.
“Our throwaway society has given us a tide of litter on our beaches, dead seabirds and fish, and plastic in our food. We all enjoy a take away coffee or tea, but the cups they are served in are particularly difficult to recycle because they combine plastic coating and cardboard. Our inquiry will be taking a serious look at solutions like the use of different materials, behaviour change, better recycling and bottle deposit return schemes,” MP Mary Creagh said at the time.
Single-use coffee capsules only add to this particular issue so having another biodegradable or dissolvable option could work wonders for the global environment. In fact, according to the BBC, coffee pods have just been banned from state-run buildings in the city of Hamburg in Germany in a bid to drive down waste.
Spokesman for the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy Jan Dube noted that these capsules can’t be recycled that easily because they’re often a mix of plastic and aluminium.