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Tea in a stick, with no strings attached

If you like your tea, but don't like the string of a teabag that must be draped over a hot cup of water, then Tstix(R) from Paris might be for you. The long, slim, foil-laminated tube of tea has more than 1,100 microperforated holes designed in a diamond pattern on its sidewalls.

Tstix is both a teabag and teaspoon in one; it acts as a stirrer, without strings, tags, staples or mess. Launched at the Salon d'Emballage in the Schwarze-Automation booth, the tea stick concept is easy to use, like holding a spoon, the company says, and can be actively stirred to obtain the tea color desired. Currently being licensed to manufacturers, the Tstix package is made by a licensing company that specializes in micro-perforation technology, and has patents and design registrations over the invention and its design in a number of countries, with other patents pending. According to Geoff Stuart, in charge of International Licensing, the product has taken six years to develop. Schwarze-Automation (www.schwarze-automation.com) in Germany supplies the specialized machinery needed to pack the product.

A 12-lane machine can reportedly produce about 480 Tstix/min. The microperforated packaging material is believed to be supplied by Alcan Packaging Sarrebourg (www.alcan.com) in France or by Amcor Packaging (www.amcor.com) in Mochheim, Germany.





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