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1. CA2701543 - BEVERAGE BREWING UNIT

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters
CLAIMS:
1. A beverage machine having an outermost casing and a brewing unit, wherein the brewing unit comprises: a first assembly and a second assembly cooperating together, with each assembly delimiting at least part of a brewing chamber, wherein the brewing chamber is configured for holding therein an ingredient capsule having an annular rim; wherein the second assembly is configured for injecting water into the ingredient capsule during brewing; wherein the first or second assembly is movable relative to the other along a straight direction from the closed position to the open position and vice versa, whereby the first assembly is movable outwards from the outermost casing and movable inwards into the outermost casing between the open and closed positions; wherein a passage is provided with lateral slits or slots for guiding the annular capsule rim during insertion into the first assembly when in the open position; and wherein the brewing unit is associated with retaining means for retaining the capsule between the first and second assemblies when in the open position.
2. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the first assembly is movable away from the second assembly into an open position for forming between the first and second assemblies a gap for receiving the capsule when the ingredient capsule is inserted into the passage and lateral slits or slots of the brewing unit, and movable towards the injecting assembly into a closed position for forming the brewing chamber containing the ingredient capsule, and wherein the retaining means comprises bumps, which are part of or movable with the first assembly.
3. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the passage and lateral slits or slots are vertical at least when in the open position for guiding the capsule rim into the brewing chamber under the force of gravity.
4. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the second assembly comprises a capsule cage.
5. The beverage machine of claim 4, wherein: the second assembly further comprises a cylindrical housing for receiving the capsule cage when inserted therein, the capsule cage being slightly movable relatively to the cylindrical housing under water pressure, and the brewing unit further comprises an opening-, puncturing-, or filter-plate, wherein an edge of the capsule cage and of the opening-, puncturing-, or filter-plate are arranged to pinch the capsule rim in a water tight manner.
6. The beverage machine of claim 4, wherein the capsule cage has the form of a cup to enclose the capsule in closure with the first assembly.
7. The beverage machine of claim 4, which further comprises an opening means, wherein the opening means comprises piercing elements or blades to pierce the capsule to enable water to be introduced therein, when closing the assembly.
8. The beverage machine of claim 7, wherein the opening means is arranged to open the capsule by closing the assembly holding the capsule so as to urge the capsule against the opening means.
9. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the second assembly is movable with respect to the first assembly for moving into the closed position for forming the brewing chamber sealed around the capsule.
10. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the capsule has a cup-shaped body and a puncturable membrane that seals the body in a gastight manner, with the brewing unit comprising a puncturing plate for puncturing the puncturable membrane by injecting water under pressure by a pump into the capsule that leads to the puncturing of the membrane against the puncturing plate.
11. The beverage machine of claim 1, which further comprises a handle or motor for driving the first assembly in and out of the casing or wherein the first assembly has an outer part that is arranged to be hand-held for being driven directly by hand to and from the second assembly.
12. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the casing has a top part in which the brewing unit is located and a lower part delimiting a cavity which forms a used capsule collector.
13. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the second assembly comprises a water heater, a guide support comprising a cylindrical housing and a capsule cage inserted in the cylindrical housing, with the heater being in direct fluid connection with the guide support and the capsule cage, and with the capsule cage being movable relatively to the cylindrical housing under water pressure, and with the guide support being mounted on or received in the heater.
14. The beverage machine of claim 13, wherein the first assembly comprises a tubular cover fitting onto an internal capsule holding element, with the capsule holding element having a pair of helicoidal guiding slots into which are engaged a pair of radial pins from the guide support of the second assembly.
15. The beverage machine of claim 13, wherein the second assembly is mounted in the first assembly in a linearly moveable fashion via two lateral pins placed on each side of the guide support which respectively engage a pair of guiding slots provided on the side of the first assembly.
16. The beverage machine of claim 15, which further comprises a lever assembly comprising a U-shaped lever and two guide rods connected together; wherein the lateral pins are directly linked to the lever assembly; wherein the lever assembly is axially connected along a transversal axis to the pins; and
wherein the rods prolong the lever beyond the axis in a linear direction with small interior pins which slide along downward extensions of the slots.
17. The beverage machine of claim 1, wherein the lateral slits or slots are arranged for guiding the annular capsule rim during insertion by gravity, with the first assembly forming a front part of the brewing unit and being mounted to the water injection assembly in a manner that allows it to be displaceable along a substantially horizontal path, and the second assembly is provided as a fixed part of the brewing unit.
18. A combination of a beverage machine as defined in claim 1 and an ingredient capsule having an annular rim.
19. The combination of claim 18, wherein the capsule has a cup-shaped body.
20. The combination of claim 18, wherein the capsule is made of aluminium or plastic.
21. The combination of claim 18, wherein the capsule contains ground coffee or other food ingredients.