Nestle Introduces Capsule Tea Brewer

DUSSELDORF, Germany

Nestlé introduced an automatic capsule-style tea brewer featuring 25 single-origin teas last week.

The rollout of the Special T in five European countries follows an unfavorable German court ruling last month that prevented Nestle from blocking the widespread use of Nespresso capsules. Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, filed suit when rival companies including DE Master Blenders 1753, began manufacturing capsules compatible with Nespresso equipment, according to a report in BusinessWeek.

The division grossed $3.6 billion in 2011, about 4 percent of Nestle’s total sales. Nespresso is one of the company’s fastest-growing brands.

On Aug. 16 the Dusseldorf Regional Court ruled Nestle’s patents for the coffee machine systems don’t prevent consumers from using other capsules. The capsules are neither the key component nor a “special feature” of the protected invention, the judges said.

“Since the buyer acquires the right to use the machine, there is no patent violation when he uses capsules of other producers,” the German court said.

The Special T machine, now available in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany is expected to eventually make its way across the Atlantic.

Nestlé Special T head Pascal Lebailly said that the machine is fitted with a water filter. Capsules are manufactured to protect the tea leaves while preserving their freshness and flavor.

"Each capsule contains exactly the right amount of tea required to produce the aroma and taste you would expect from a cup of that particular variety," Lebailly said.

Capsules are offered with black, green, blue, white, flavored, or organic herbal tea leaves.
The Special T sells for $112 online. Customers can also sample teas and test the machine at flagship Nespresso stores in each of the five countries, according to the firm.
The rollout is expected to be complete by November

Source: Drinks Business Review, BusinessWeek

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