Home Science CommunicationScholarly communication Technical paper: home-made mocha optimization

Technical paper: home-made mocha optimization

by Eva Amsen

Abstract

I made instant mocha at work and am now writing a silly blog post about it.

Introduction

In this 24-hour economy, the modern workforce has little time to consume fancy beverages, yet working adults are fueled almost exclusively by caffeinated and sweet drinks. This creates an inherent dilemma: work or coffee break? When the sourcing or preparation of delicious drinks is costing the same amount of time as is won by increased working speed as a result of consuming said drinks, no net productivity is achieved.Here, we solve this problem by developing a quicker way to produce a drink that costs 10-30 minutes (depending on distance between place of work and place of coffee procurement) to source from an external supplier.

Here, we solve this problem by developing a quicker way to produce a drink that costs 10-30 minutes (depending on distance between place of work and place of coffee procurement) to source from an external supplier.

Methods

Making the mocha

Mochas were produced by adding indicated amounts of instant hot chocolate powder (Cadbury, UK) and instant coffee (Kenco Coffee Company, UK; caffeinated) to a drinking vessel and adding 300 ml water of approximately 97-99 degrees Celcius.

Results

Mocha 1

The ingredients of a “mocha” are coffee and chocolate. In previous studies, we have successfully created a cup of hot chocolate by adding one big scoop (as provided by the supplier) of powder to a mug of hot water (unpublished). We have also made coffee of varying strength by adding two or three small spoonfuls of instant coffee to a similar amount of water, and adding sugar or milk to taste (personal communication, unpublished.) Our initial attempt to create the derivative drink called “mocha” focused on utilizing an equal amount of resources as the two source drinks. Therefore, in our first attempt (“Mocha 1”) we used a normal amount of water, half of the chocolate powder, and half of the coffee. (See Table 1)

Drink Amount of hot water Amount of coffee Amount of chocolate
Coffee 300ml 2-3 little spoons
Chocolate 300ml 1 scoop
Mocha 1 300ml 1.5 little spoons 0.5 scoop
Mocha 2 300ml 2 little spoons 1 pouch

Table 1: ingredients of source drinks and derivative drinks.

As previously published in a brief publication of preliminary data, a taste test of Mocha 1 (non-blinded, N=1) revealed that the flavour did not resemble that of commercial drinks of a similar nature. Taste was described as “watery” and “not very good at all”. The objective qualifier “watery” was utilized to optimize the production of the beverage, as described below.

Mocha 2

A classic method to make a drink less watery is to add less water, but a less conventional approach is to increase the amount of solute and solid particles. We used this second experimental method to create the optimized derivative beverage “Mocha 2”. In producing Mocha 2, we made use of a premade pouch containing the exact amount of chocolate powder needed to make one cup of hot chocolate. We added to this 2 little spoons of instant coffee, and the amount of water needed for one cup (see Table 1). Despite the excess amount of solid matter in the cup, emulsification and solubility were not notably affected (Figure 1).
mocha.jpg
Figure 1: Visible spectrum optical analysis of Mocha 2 indicates no apparent deviation in solubility compared to control beverages (not pictured)

Taste tests (N=1, non-blinded) described Mocha 2 as “just like hot chocolate”, “oh, wait, now I taste the coffee”, and “this is pretty good, actually”.

In both cases (Mocha 1 and Mocha 2) total production time did not exceed 5 minutes, including boiling of water using an electrical kettle.

Discussion

We describe herein the rapid production of a beverage similar in flavour and basic ingredients as commercial products that may prove far more time consuming to source. Although we have yet to perform a full financial analysis, our own budget calculations (not shown) indicate that long-term adoption of this drink may also be more economically desirable. Together, our data suggest that Mocha 2 may increase productivity by offering a similar nutritional value as commercial beverages, while being less demanding on both time and monetary resources.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest, but would welcome Cadbury donations.

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9 comments

Kausik Datta October 13, 2010 - 2:18 AM

To complete your deliciously executed study, all we now need is reproducibility. At multiple centers preferably. Calls for a large scale collaboration, and elaborate statistical analysis (Bob, you listening?). Perhaps the next Lasker for Eva? 

Reply
Nicolas Fanget October 13, 2010 - 9:35 AM

With controls and a publication, I could see this become an IgNoble!

Reply
Bob O'Hara October 13, 2010 - 3:32 PM

Yes, I can do the elaborate statistical analysis – I have some dice (but no peas at the moment).

Reply
Eva Amsen October 13, 2010 - 4:20 PM

I have now successfully repeated the experiment. So N=2.

Reply
Cath Ennis October 13, 2010 - 10:00 PM

 This paper is better written (and more scientific) than 80% of the draft "manuscripts" I’ve read this month, with the possible exception of the abstract. Well done, Eva!

Reply
Eva Amsen October 13, 2010 - 10:41 PM

I actually had to worsify the language between the first draft and this. For example, the sentence

"The objective qualifier "watery" was utilized to optimize the production of the beverage, as described below."

initially read:

"We used the objective qualifier "watery" to optimize the production of the drink."

Reply
Alejandro Correa October 14, 2010 - 3:16 AM

After trying this delicious beverage of Eva, I can say about the Chilean miners  trapped and released.

In relation to the rescue of the miners, we appreciate the ideas of Henry and Graham by providing solutions to the 33 miners trapped Chileans to come out of hell, if you do not believe you read this:

"Marvels of mispronts, By Cromercrox":http://cromercrox.blogspot.com/2010/04/marvels-of-mispronts.html

Ah! and the different types of food of Finland, that Bob buys.

 

 

Reply
Kausik Datta October 14, 2010 - 5:57 AM

Clean up in Aisle 7!

Die Spambots, die, die!!

But… how the heck did you get in?

Reply
Alejandro Correa October 14, 2010 - 12:59 PM

Kusik, listen me, I think the solution to your pain, have it my friend Dr R. P. G. of Rotherhithe or Dr. H.G. of Cromer, if you do not believe you read this:
 

"Dr. R.P.G. of Rotherhithe":http://cromercrox.blogspot.com/2010/09/rpg-rules.html

Reply

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