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    SCAA 2015: The Chemistry of Coffee Brewing with Blossom One

    Making coffee is chemistry, and you want to have control of as many variables as you can. At this year's SCAA, we check out the Blossom One, a coffee machine that brews with precise temperature controls--keeping the brew at a single temp for any length of time. Having seen a prototype severals years back, we're happy to see the final Blossom machine up and running, and chat with its creator to learn about the chemistry of coffee.

    SCAA 2015: Brewing Grit-Free Coffee with Espro Presses

    At this year's SCAA The Event coffee convention, we check in with Espro, the makers of our favorite French Press-style brewer to geek out over coffee! We chat about how to make grit-free French-press coffee, Espro's new travel press, and micro filtration for brewing tea.

    10 Things About Chocolate That You Didn’t Know

    Chocolate is one of humanity’s true miracles, a substance that brings joy to everybody with a single bite. You probably think you have a pretty good idea about how it works and how it’s made, but if there’s one thing we know, it’s that there’s always more to learn. Let’s dive deep into a vat of cocoa and bring out ten fascinating chocolate facts that you might not know.

    Making Dessert at America's Test Kitchen!

    Our week at America's Test Kitchen appropriately concludes with some dessert! Will learns about how the cooks developed recipes for Baked Alaska--Swiss and Italian Meringues--through a rigorous testing system where every variable and procedure is examined. It's time to set that cake on fire!

    The Science of Meat Texture at America's Test Kitchen

    At America's Test Kitchen, recipe cooks use specialized scientific equipment to test ingredients, like this Texture Analyzer. Will chats with cook Dan Souza about the testing of meat texture over a range of temperatures to find the point where the meat is the most tender. How springy or gummy do you want that steak?

    Making Kale Delicious at America's Test Kitchen

    Will chats with America's Test Kitchen cook Dan Souza about the science of making Kale taste good, in salads and other dishes. We learn how to tenderize Kale to make it more palatable and how the test kitchen experiments with every variable in a recipe. Time for a taste test!

    Making Butter Burgers at America's Test Kitchen!

    We learn how to make "butter burgers" at America's Test Kitchen! The cooks in their laboratory explain how they tested different ingredients and methods to arrive at this recipe, the result of which is one of the best burgers we've ever tasted! It's ridiculously good!

    Tested Tours America's Test Kitchen!

    All this week, we're at America's Test Kitchen! To kick off our visit, Christopher Kimball gives us a tour of their food laboratories, where a small army of test cooks experiment with recipes all day long. We learn about the Test Kitchen's approach to doing everything in-house, from producing their TV show and publishing Cooks Illustrated. Stay tuned for more from this awesome trip!

    The 10 Foods That Make Your Urine Smell The Most

    The human digestive system is a truly wondrous machine, capable of processing a wide range of inputs into just a few outputs. One of those necessary waste products is urine, a normally clear or yellowish liquid secreted by the kidneys that helps clear out the nitrogen and other byproducts created by cellular metabolism. Typically, urine has a mild odor, but your diet can affect it in a number of ways. Let’s take a trip through your kitchen to find the foods that do a number on the odor of your liquid waste.

    In Brief: Steven Levy Chats with Alan Adler, Inventor of the Aeropress

    It's been a while since we've done serious coffee coverage on the site, but with the SCAA Event convention happening next month (we're heading there!), now's as good a time as any to revisit some of our favorite coffee-making gear. One of our very first videos was about making coffee with the Aeropress, a simple single-cup brewing device that has inspired international competitions for barista-perfected recipes. Aeropress' creation by Aerobie flying disc inventor Alan Adler is a great piece of maker lore, and Medium's Steven Levy recently chatted with Adler about the device and its wonderful simplicity. Lovely photos, too.

    Norman
    Tested Mailbag: We Can Smell It

    Time to open another package that's arrived at the Tested office! This one happens to be a box inside a box, so both Will and Norm get to demonstrate box-opening skills. The smells within give it away--it's a lovely gift from Tested reader Phil. Thanks, Phil! Have a great weekend!

    In Brief: Why M&Ms are the Perfect Space Snack

    Smithsonian magazine has a fun little feature about the history of chocolate in the space program. Chocolate has been a choice treat for cosmonauts and astronauts since the very first manned space flights, but has travelled in many different forms: tubed sauce, pudding, brownies, and of course, M&Ms. We were privileged to be able to see some of these freeze-dried and vacuum-sealed snacks during our visit to JSC in 2013. I can neither confirm nor deny that I have a sealed package of space travel-ready 'candy-coated chocolates'. (Sort of related: the contents of Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 stowage bag 'purse', recently discovered and brought to the National Air and Space Museum. Its incredible contents here.)

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    10 Secrets Of Grocery Store Food

    People tend to spend a lot of time in the grocery store around the holidays, stocking up for big family meals and interminable in-law visits. But behind the simple façade of the supermarket hides an insanely complex network of interlocking systems and hidden secrets. Come with us as we investigate some of the most closely-guarded secrets of the grocery store.

    Tested: The Show — Cooking with Cricket Flour

    For our live show in San Francisco, Megan Miller of Bitty Foods gave a presentation about the possibilities of cricket flour--cooking and baking with flour made with insects. Here's why that's not such a strange idea, and how the idea can have an impact on the way we think about food production for a growing global population. (We apologize for some of the rough audio in this taping of our live show. The audio mixer at the venue unfortunately distorted audio from some of the microphones.)

    The Best Digital Kitchen Scale Today

    This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a list of the best gear for your home. Read the full article at TheSweethome.com

    If you need an all-purpose digital kitchen scale for baking, cooking by ratio, or even measuring beans to brew coffee, the Jennings CJ4000 ($26) combines some of the best features we’ve seen in a scale. It’s easy to use and store, comes with an AC adapter to save on batteries, and you can disable the auto-off function—so you can take your sweet time mixing or brewing. The Jennings costs only a few dollars more than a bare-bones model, but does something none of them can: it measures in half grams for even better precision.

    How We Decided

    We spent nearly 30 hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing digital kitchen scales over the last two years. Of the 45 models we’ve considered, the Jennings CJ4000 has proved the most versatile for a range of kitchen tasks and the best for most people.

    Who should buy this?

    Anyone who wants more consistent results from their baking, cooking, or coffee brewing should consider getting a kitchen scale. It’s far more accurate to weigh flour, diced vegetables, shredded cheese, or any number of ingredients than to cram them into a measuring cup or spoon. And since you can pour everything into one mixing bowl—subtracting cups and spoons from the equation—this type of cooking and baking cuts down significantly on dishes.

    For precision coffee brewing, as with pour overs, a scale can help you get an accurate combination of beans and water every time. (If you’re into home espresso, see our other recommendations below for even more accurate pocket scales.)