Morning Cup of Coffee Can Now Easily Create Biofuel

Future Americano, cappuccino, and latte drinkers could help produce the raw material for a greener biofuel that would reduce our reliance on diesel from fossil fuels.

Purpose-grown feedstocks (used to extract oils) for biodiesels are controversial because of the cost and the demand that they place on land and water. However, used coffee grounds, which have a high calorific value, offer a good low-cost alternative feedstock. However, most used coffee grounds are currently just dumped. In 2014 more than nine million tonnes of spent coffee grounds were sent to landfill.

Although a small number of businesses are using spent coffee grounds to make biofuels, researchers at Lancaster University have found a way to significantly improve the efficiency of the process, vastly increasing biofuel from coffee’s commercial competitiveness.

The chemical engineers have consolidated the existing multi-stage process into one step (known as in-situ transesterification), which combines extraction of the oils from the spent coffee grounds and…

How to Automate Your Coffee Maker

Is making coffee slowing you down in the morning? Even in today’s drip-machine world, is pouring dust into a cup still just too darn hard during your 6AM haze? Here are several ways you can automate your coffee maker, so it’s ready for you in the morning with minimal interaction.

Keep in mind that you can’t have the coffee-making experience be 100% automated, since there are still some things that have to remain manual—even if it’s just making sure you place a coffee cup underneath the dispenser. However, there are a few different things you can add to the experience that will at least partially automate the process.

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Use a Programmable Coffee Maker

You might already have one of these in the first place, but the most basic form of coffee-making automation is the good ol’ programmable coffee maker.

It’s the least “smart” way to automate the coffee making process, but it’s by far the cheapest solution, since you can get a programmable coffee maker for as little as $20.

These coffee makers allow you to set a time that the coffee maker will automatically turn on and begin brewing coffee. So if you normally have your coffee around 7am, maybe program it to turn on at 6:50am or so.

Granted, you can’t control it remotely and it’s probably not the best solution for those who don’t have their coffee at the same time every morning. However, most people have a consistent morning routine, so a programmable coffee maker would be the best option there.

Plus, if your current coffee maker isn’t programmable and you don’t want to give it up, you could get a basic plug-in timer that will give you mostly the same features of a programmable model.

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Is Trader Joe’s Pour-Over Bag the Ultimate in Coffee Convenience?

Photos by Claire Lower

People who really love their coffee are always looking for ways to drink good coffee in spaces that are not conducive to brewing good coffee, and Trade Joe’s seeks to fill this need with a handy little brew-in-the-bag coffee pouch, complete with spout.

This bag will set you back about two bucks.

The concept is simple: you just twist off the tip of the spout and open the top of the bag, pour hot water in up to the fill line, let it sit for four minutes, and pour the coffee into cups. It’s a great idea, but the product is really only as great as the coffee it makes, so I called in my snobby coffee friend—you may remember Chris from this little experiment—to help me evaluate the situation.

Here you can see the filter the coffee has to pass through before hitting the spout.

The first thing Chris pointed out to me is that, while it is called a “pour-over coffee brewer,” the system is actually more of filtered/French press hybrid, which TJ’s acknowledges on the back of the bag. In terms of customizing your brew, there are a few things you can adjust to affect the flavor and strength. Though you can’t adjust grind size—which is finer than the typical French press grind but coarser than drip—you can adjust the…

Go Ahead, Have That Fourth Cup of Coffee

Photo by Quang Nguyen.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans that downs coffee or other caffeinated beverages to get through the work day, here’s some good news. A new scientific review on the safety of caffeine says drinking up to four cups of coffee, or about 400 milligrams of caffeine, is pretty safe.

The review, which is the most exhaustive of its kind to date, was led by Esther Myers, specialist in systematic research reviews at the International Life Sciences Institute. Myers and her team, who are presenting the findings this week at the Experimental Biology conference in Chicago, looked at how different levels of caffeine affected people in the short and long term, taking special care to look for any adverse health effects in the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, reproductive, or behavioral areas.

After going over…

Make Iced Coffee, Sans Ice, With HyperChiller

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Qu’est-ce que c’est?

As I’ve said many times, iced coffee is a brilliant way to sell people ice for the price of coffee (which is mostly water to begin with). Cold brew on the other hand is a…

Clear Coffee That Won’t Stain Teeth Is Now Available in the UK

There were hard lessons to be learned from the failures of Crystal Pepsi, Zima, and other casualties of the clear-beverage fad of the 1990s. But what if a see-through coffee was more than a novelty? What if it provided an actual, tangible benefit?

We’ll shortly find out. UK-based distributor CLR CFF recently launched a bottled product, Clear Coffee, that claims to be the world’s first transparent coffee. Sold in 100 ml bottles, each contains 100 mg of caffeine and promises to offer the flavor of Arabica coffee…

The World’s Strongest Coffee is Now Available in the United States

Like the race to make the world’s hottest pepper, there’s also a heated competition in the culinary world to create the strongest cup of coffee. Right now, the apparent winner is Black Insomnia Coffee, which launched in South Africa last year. With a whopping 702 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving, Black Insomnia is four times stronger than the average cup of joe. If the idea of trying some makes your eye twitch with excitement, we have some great news: The coffee is now available in the United States.

Previously, the aptly named Death…