Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Want My Two Cups!

Though I haven’t told him so outright, I generally consider Christian a hair smarter than me--a two foot in diameter hair. So when I get perplexed by the comings and goings of each day, I tend to turn to him for answers.

Pat:  Hey buddy--I know you don’t drink coffee, but I was hoping you could help me solve a conundrum.

Each morning, after I wake up, I go downstairs and make a nice pot of coffee. Not a full pot, mind you, as my spouse and I don’t need that much anxiety in our lives. Instead, I opt for ten of the twelve possible cups allowed by our pot.

Here’s the thing...

I put ten cups of water IN the machine, but by the time it comes out deliciously dark and murky, there are only eight cups available.

What the hell is happening to those two cups?

Christian: Don’t you coffee freaks make your coffee really hot. Is there steam involved? If so then you are probably steaming away those extra two cups. Either that or coffee elves are taking the cups while you aren’t looking. Science.

Pat:  There is steam, but two cups worth? That seems like an awful lot of steam! Should I try to capture it and measure it?

And I appreciate the second theory, but the kids are pretty steadfast in their assertion that our house is inhabited only by us, cats and fairies. No elves. I think the kids would know.

Christian: Do you have a steam collector?

Steam collector. Every kitchen should have one.

If so then, yes, capture the steam the next time you boil coffee or however it you make it, and then take a ruler and measure the steam. I don’t know what the conversion from inches to cups is, but I’m sure your iPad can do that for you.

I’m really curious now to see what you find. Don’t worry...we’ll figure this out. Unless of course you don’t have a steam collector, in which case you’re screwed.

Pat:  No. I don’t. At least, I don’t think so. Does my mouth count as a steam collector? ‘Cause one time I opened it up real wide and tried to catch as much steam in it as I could. But then I coughed and mildly choked, and I think I lost whatever steam I had captured in my mouth. Do they make more effective steam catching devices?

Christian: I don’t know. You’re the coffee drinker here not me.

OK, let’s pass on trying to measure the amount of steam. How about this: just don’t heat up the coffee and see how many cups you can drink. If you still end up with two less cups than what you started with then we can rule out my steam theory.

Give that a try and then report back.

Pat: This is embarrassing, because I consider myself pretty well-versed in the kitchen arts, but...I don’t know how to make coffee without heating it up. I tried it but just got a mouthful of gritty dark water. It wasn’t very good.

Were you just pulling a funny on me?

Christian: Of course not. Remember, I know nothing about coffee except for the fact that I hate how it tastes. Are you suggesting it doesn’t normally taste like gritty dark water? Because that sounds like an accurate description to me.

But back on to the task at hand: How many cups of the gritty dark water did you have? Were you missing any cups?

Pat:  It’s the gritty part that caught me off guard. Hadn’t had that since I accidentally drank the last sip in Turkey, but at least THAT was hot grit.  

I don’t know if I was missing any cups, because after you tricked me into drinking cold water with ground coffee in it I went into a Hulk-like rage and smashed my mug and the coffee pot.

Christian: OK, we probably need to take a step back then. You don’t have a steam collector and not heating up the coffee apparently had some negative side effects.

Maybe we need to figure out where in the process of making the coffee you are losing the two cups. Can you just half make the coffee? If you can do that then we can see if you have only lost one cup at that point. If so then we’ll know we’re losing the cups over the entire process as opposed to losing both cups right at the end or something. I think this is called the transitive property of cups.

Try that and let’s see what that tells us.

Pat: Okay, I’ll try it. But then what’s your suggestion or what I do to treat the headaches that ensues from drinking only half my normal intake of coffee?

This is just seeming too damn complicated! Maybe it’s better to just let the mysteries of evaporation and liquid disappearance be!

Christian: That’s fine with me I don’t really care what happened to those two cups. And since I can’t stand the taste of coffee I actually wouldn’t mind if by the time you were done making the coffee there weren’t any cups left.

We can just leave it as one of those mysteries that science just isn’t powerful enough yet to explain. Like how the universe started or how gravity works.  Or why it’s so hard to get rid of styrofoam.


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EDITORS NOTE: In last week’s PCPPP post, which can be found here, here, here, or here, we gave thanks to some fellow bloggers that had given us accolades and shoutouts. Unfortunately due to a clerical error which we are assuming occurred in our accounting or HR department (heads are going to roll!) we forgot to say thanks to MOV over at mothersofbrothersblog, who recently gave us a great shout out on her blog. Thanks MOV! And for those of you unfamiliar with mothersofbrothersblog, after doing a shame cry for 15 mins you should head on over and say howdy. It’s a hilarious blog where you will find amazing posts about baseball people’s ability to fix anything, fighting with the self-checkout machines at the grocery store, and giving us an awesome shout out.  

Thanks again MOV and sorry you didn’t get mentioned last week. Seriously we are looking at firing 20 to 30 people from our staff because of this.

41 comments:

  1. I'm with Christian on this one. Coffee is just god awful stuff! Why on earth would anyone drink it when they can get their daily caffeine intake from Diet Coke, like the good lord intended?

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    1. Ummm...increased risk of strokes?

      Sorry...is this one of those "buzz-kill" statements that Christian has been saying I'm prone to?

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    2. @Kellie - Oh thank god I thought I was the only one that felt that way. Except for the part about Diet Coke. I can't stand it either. I'm more of a Dr. Pepper man.

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  2. It's definitely coffee elves. How do you think the coffee gets made in the machine? Two tiny elves stoking the furnace to make the steam and keep the brewing process going. All they ask in return for producing your daily fuel is a cup of coffee each.

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  3. I love the idea that Christian yells "Science" at the end of any explanation. Isn't it a combo of steam, a bit being left in the machine and some being soaked into the grounds as well as the filter? Or elves. There's always the elves explanation. Although, I think they prefer the term "little trolls" as opposed to "elves".

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    1. Pickleope, please! Haven't you learned by now that we try our best to keep rational explanation OUT of the argument in our blog?!

      It's totally the elves!

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  4. I want to be funny, but you have triggered my inner geek and I can't help but shout, "Weigh the fricking coffee before you brew it, then weigh the grounds after."



    Ellen

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    1. @Ellen - I don't understand what you are saying. It's like you're speaking wizard-speak.

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  5. And now part of my comment was not published so now I'm really not funny, "AHHHHHHHHH!"

    -Slinking away with a ruined blogging career,

    Ellen (Don't look at me)

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  6. i wish i could love coffee, even if some cups do disappear into the ether. i need a hot, toasty beverage today, though i prefer mine non-gritty.

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    1. It's amazing what you can set your mind to when you lower your expectations. Considered that?

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  7. Pat, maybe you just can't count well? That's getting down to the basic basic basics.

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    1. I'm pretty good with the basic numbers, but the compounds mess me up. Every time.

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    2. This did occur to me too but I was concerned about embarrassing Pat.

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  8. I cook with coffee sometimes, and when I make it, I find a similar reduction going on. I always assumed it was the coffee grounds absorbing some of the water. However, thanks to you guys, I am going with the secret elves theory.

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    1. So what you're saying is that we should have our own cooking show? I think you might be right!

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  9. Maybe the measuring thingy that you pour the coffee into uses a different set of algorithms than that of your pot. (did you ever notice how algorithm is spelled? It just sort of peters out at the end with no helpful vowels.)

    Also, Christian may be smarter than thick hair, but can you really trust someone who doesn't drink coffee? 90 point for Pat.

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    1. It's like "rhythm". That word fucks with me EVERY time I try to use it! Damn those 'm's that try to put themselves at the end of words! Damn them to hell!

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  10. Sorry Pat, it's my fault. I drink those 2 cups. I sneak in while you're looking out the window watching for squirrel fights. I honestly didn't think you'd notice. I mean, with all of the early morning drinking that you ...

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    1. Oh. Sorry you had to see that the other morning then. Umm...I didn't know you were there, and I don't normally do that.

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  11. MOV's sidebar is how I found you guys! I always thought the grounds soaked up extra water, but perhaps not that much...now I feel silly for not realizing it could be something far more sciencey than that!

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    1. My theory is that the only purpose of science is to make us feel silly. Science.

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  12. Have either of you considered the possibility that Pat isn't using a standard sized cup, but a slightly bigger cup? Or maybe he is, but he's filling his cup beyond the indicated level. Just a thought.

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    1. I wondered that too. Thought it might be chalked up to user error but didn't have the heart to tell him. Thank goodness he doesn't understand what you are saying.

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  13. Oh oh oh! I know!

    Cups on a coffee maker? Are 6 oz. Real cups are 8 oz. It's all a big conspiracy.

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    1. Interesting. I'm assuming that this also explains why I have to drink so much beer in the evening. No? Well, it was worth a shot.

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  14. WOW!!! a shout-out for my shout-out! that is, like, double shout-out! YAY! thank you. ;)

    On to "hotter" topics (e.g. coffee). I used to work in a high-end kitchen store, so I have all the answers for you.
    Here is the deal with the cups. The coffee pot is measuring in "real" cups (so 8 ounces). When you drink the coffee, you are measuring in coffee cups that you drink out of (a big mug = 12 ounces). Then, add in or subtract and divide by the metric system, and voilà! Two tiny cups of coffee.

    You're welcome.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Thanks MOV. Drinking coffee sees do difficult. Why do you people do it?

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  15. I'm so glad MOV cleared that up for us, because I was starting to worry that I had elves and was going to have to fumigate my house or something.

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    1. It's probably best you still go ahead with the fumigation. Even if you don't have coffee elves you may still have sandwich elves, scotch elves (my favorite!), or cats.

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  16. I have a steam collector just like that one in my kitchen, except it's red (to match my KitchenAid mixer). Thanks for the laughs! Now, I'm off to try to catch steam in my mouth, too. Sounds fun!

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    1. Oh yeah the red ones are cool. And it would be pretty tacky to no have your KitchenAid mixer not match your industrial steam collector.

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  17. To break down styrofoam all you need is a 100% acetone. It dissolves it into a rubbery ball of goop and you can mold it into useful things. Like an oblate spheroid.

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  18. Oh Pat, never ever try to get coffee advice from a non-coffee drinker. Just don't do it. Not only do they not understand, I'm pretty sure any input is given with the underlying intention to convert us into their caffeine-free ignorance, which we know can be a very scary place. Proceed with caution.

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    1. Unfortunately Pat has learned to always proceeds with caution on anything I tell him.

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