STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 3, Number 5

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Page 59 of 93

60 STiR tea & coffee industry international T By Katrina Ávila Munichiello he tea bag form has been through a century of evolution. First there were Thomas Sullivan's accidental silk bags. Then in 1930 a man named William Hermanson turned heads with a heat-sealed paper version, a patent snatched up by Salada Tea. Lipton introduced a bag two decades later that had four sides instead of two, allowing the water to flow through more freely and Tetley began mass production of tea bags a year later. In the ensuing years, consumers have seen single chambered and double chambered square or round paper tea bags, pyramids, sacs made of polylac- tic acid (PLA) and tea sticks. New shapes evolved as brand makers sought to stand out or to offer better performance. The changes allow a diversity of functionality, but also create challenges for tea bag filling machinery. In the early stages of the tea filling business, the fundamental goal of the equipment was achieving the highest speed possible. Companies sought to fill millions of teabags each day. The tea was black CTC, with its size and shape precise and strictly regulated. The blend was uniform, making consistent dosing by machine relatively straight for- ward. A factory could turn out billions of teabags per year. As demand for higher qual- ity tea grew, tea suppliers began to envision blends that were not going to be uniform. They wanted to explore the possibility of incorporating orthodox whole leaf tea into bags. They imagined teabags where the contents might be studded with flowers or spices. They wanted to explore new types of packaging that was biodegradable or com- postable or that offered more visibility for the bag's ingredients. How could equipment companies meet these needs while still making the venture financially viable? Simplifying and streamlining Inland Packaging, Inc. is one of those companies that faced these new demands. This Florida-based company has been specializing in supplying packaging machinery to tea companies globally for more than two decades. "Since the end of the 1990s, companies have been searching for new ways of packaging tea," said Gidon Reichstein, prresident at Inland Packaging, Inc. "With the change in consumer demand, manufacturers of tea packing machines were challenged by their customers to develop systems which are The Challenging Task of Filling Tea Bags Argentina's MAI S.A. has been producing single chamber tea bag packaging machines since 1976. The Miflex-Masz machine can string and tag the material before creating pyramids.

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