This has been a morning of self-discovery for me. I was surprised to learn that I really enjoy watching robots make cake. In my dive down the rabbit hole that is ads for cake-making robots on YouTube, I also discovered that the music on factory equipment sales videos is outstanding. I put a handful of my favorites in a playlist for you.
Another mystery package arrives at the office, and we do our best to guess what's inside! Don't worry, it's not a puppy. But what we do find ends up disrupting our entire day at the office. Thanks, Donbert from the Tested forums!
YouTube channel PotLuckVideo went to the Sun Noodles factory to learn the process of how ramen noodles are made. And now you know.
This UNCTV Science segment gives a peek inside Counter Culture coffee to show a bit about the science of roasting coffee and does a great job detailing the processes that take place inside the coffee bean as its roasted, ground up, and then brewed.1
Will tests two different methods of baking pizza at home: using a traditional pizza stone and a new baking steel. We discuss the merits of each method and why a sheet of steel anyone can cut themselves makes a great platform for baking crispy thin-crust pizza.
Prior to the industrial food revolution of the last century, there were hundreds of chicken breeds. Now that a handful of companies produce the vast majority of chicken we eat, the diversity of poultry breeds has plummeted and many breeds are lost. Frank Reese is working to save rare breeds on his Kansas farm. (via The Plate)
Looks like pretty good week for condiment innovation. "High school seniors Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson have spent a lot of time thinking about ketchup. As students in the Project Lead the Way program at North Liberty High School, Richards and Thompson have researched and developed a bottle cap that prevents that first squirt of ketchup from being a watery mess." (h/t LaughingSquid)
Alton Brown demonstrates a smart (and cheap!) solution for storing in place those finicky condiment bottles in your refrigerator door. Not all of them have flat tops that let you easily rest them upside down. Of course, we'd want to 3D-print a long-term solution.
For this week's Show and Tell, Will reviews the Sansaire immersion circulator, a kitchen gadget used for sous video cooking. After testing the Sansaire for several months, here's why we think it's a great way to get started with sous vide.
As I drank my second cup of coffee of the day, I enjoyed this video from Reactions shows the many mechanisms by which caffeine enhances our brain activity (and lives). (via Laughing Squid.
Will and Norm open two mystery mailbags from readers, and the contents are more awesome than they could've imagined. Nope, it's not a puppy. It'll never be a puppy. But definitely a special edition of the Tested mailbag!
Priceonomics has a great long feature about the invention of the AeroPress, our current favorite low-cost single-cup coffee maker. If you've ever bought an AeroPress from its manufacturer, Aerobie, you may have noticed that it's the company's single coffee product among a dozen other "high performance sports toys." That's because Stanford professor Alan Adler, the inventor of the AeroPress, started the company in the 1980s making the famous Aerobie flying disc (which was actually inspired by the Chakram!). Priceonomics' story walks us through Adler's revelation of using air pressure to reduce brew time for a single cup of coffee, and how the AeroPress actually struggled to find fans after its initial release. Today, it's so popular that there are international AeroPress competitions. (And if you liked this story, don't forget to read about the invention of the Chemex as well!)1
Earlier this week, we showed you what grinding coffee looked like under the Edgertronic high-speed camera. Though mesmerizing, some of you weren't impressed. So here's a step up: grinding colorful peanut M&Ms under the same camera at different frame rates!
Men and beer have gone together for ages. Beer is crafted by men in factories owned by men, sold to men, and consumed by men.
But women love beer, too. They make up one-quarter of U.S. beer consumption by volume, according to the Beverage Media Group. And the number of women who love beer is slowly growing. The craft brewing industry has allowed them to find new brands and flavors. According to a consumer survey called the Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker, the percent of women who name beer as their favorite beverage grew from 26 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2013. That stat may seem low, but it’s kind of remarkable considering that beer is only ever marketed to men.
And women love brewing too. For a long time, the only way they’ve been able to show it is through small-batch home brewing in their kitchens. Women who have wanted to turn their craft into a career say they’ve had their male counterparts literally laugh in their faces. In the last ten years or so, however, a few female pioneers have pushed their way onto brewery floors to prove that making beer is anything but men’s work.
The idea that beer is a man’s domain would have been ludicrous to anyone alive more than 250 years ago.
The movement of women into the industry has happened incredibly slowly. A male-dominated industry is generally considered to be one that has 25 percent or fewer women. While other men-centric businesses have started accepting women over the years (even mining, for example, was 13 percent women in the U.S. in 2011), the brewing industry doesn’t even bother to track how many women it employs. The generally accepted estimate is that less than 1 percent of all brewers in the U.S. are female. Whitney Burnside, who became the first female head brewer at Pelican Brewery in Oregon in January, says that when it came to her entering the industry, “there was a lot of resistance. I felt like I had to work extra hard to show them that I could do it. I never felt like it was acceptable. Now, even being the head brewer here, I still get the looks and the weird responses.”
It hasn’t always been this way. The idea that beer is a man’s domain would have been ludicrous to anyone alive more than 250 years ago. Before beer was taken over by industry, men had little time or care for crafting brew — they were too busy hunting or farming to waste their hours cooking. After all, making beer isn’t all that different from making dinner. Until the modern-era, women dominated everything that went on in the kitchen.
Why do our taste buds crave the flavor of rooster sauce? Reactions--a YouTube channel produced by the American Chemical Society--breaks down the chemical ingredients of the popular condiment to explain how it affects our brains. Perfect timing to celebrate the ending of the great Sriracha crisis of late 2013, after the California Department of Public Health halted shipments of Sriracha from its Southern California factory for 30 days. But did you know that there are plenty of rooster sauce alternatives in supermarkets? That's one taste test we'd love to do.
In case you didn't believe us when we first told you that putting your wine through a blender makes it taste better. "Dr. Gavin Sacks of Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology Program translates popular wine jargon such as "breathing," "corked," and "wine tears" into chemistry you can understand. He also explains some tricks you can use to experience the versatility of wine."
Time for another Tested mailbag opening! Friend of the site Steve Lin dropped off an actual bag of awesomeness, and we were not prepared for the numerous treats within. Fans of weird international Pocky and Kit Kat flavors should brace themselves.