Polystyrene cups

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Polystyrene cups

Postby kingseven » Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:36 pm

This is a bit random but something I've noticed recently with having to work with takeaway cups (and not the best ones) recently.

Espresso pours tend to hang straight and then start to make their way towards each other. These cups were causing the espresso to really really go the other way - it looks truly bizarre, I wish I'd had a camera with me!

What I don't understand is how come the side of the cup furthest away from the pour is the one exerting some sort of pull?


If this makes no sense then I'm sorry!
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Postby Gouezeri » Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:59 pm

Hmm, sounds like static electricity to me (very common with polystyrene)... however, it probably isn't pull, but push... so the liquid is being pushed away from the side of the cup to which it is nearest....
there's also the possibility that the liquid has become charged as well... there are some interesting comments here:
http://www.ce-mag.com/archive/2001/janfeb/mrstatic.html
I'll leave the real scientists to explain though!
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Postby Steve » Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:45 pm

Yes dom I started to read that and then I los..............ZZZZZZZZzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz
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Postby steves » Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:33 am

Steve wrote:ZZZZZZZZzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz


Steve, maybe you hadn't had enough coffee?

No, no, you're right -- Dom, congratulations on your latest discovery - an alternative to decaf :wink:

KS - what happens if you fill one of the cups with water and leave it on top of the machine for an hour or so before pulling a shot into it? (Don't tell me, the cup starts to get hot and loses its shape - the water leaks out and pours into the machine shorting it out...)
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Postby Gouezeri » Sat Jun 11, 2005 12:51 am

Alright, it's gone midnight, so pick on Dom day should now be officially over :-P ;-)

But bringing things back to the subject (kinda) why drink an espresso out of polystyrene!?! Surely there are better alternatives at little (or no) extra cost... I think that would ruin the whole "experience" for me. I would have thought for a number of people here that how a coffee is served/presented is almost as important as how it is made.
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Postby steves » Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:35 am

Well, as an alternative to drinking espresso out of polystyrene, I guess water would be cheaper :wink:

But, of course, I agree - though drawing a line between pure "presentation" and taste is difficult, is it not? I *believe* it would not taste as good in polystyrene, but maybe it's just some other parts of the experience that would suffer - the smooth, solid warmth of the cup in the hand and against the lips and mouth etc...


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Postby Gouezeri » Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:46 am

Not so much presentation (which does have its place) as a sensory/aesthetic experience. Psychology probably also plays a part and I know that KS has experienced this with the FatDuck.
Call me a snob, but I think I'd refuse an espresso at the price they are often sold, if it came in a polystyrene cup (thankfully it's never happened).
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Postby steves » Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:02 am

Okay - well I suppose that's what I'm getting at. It's the whole thing - for example, if you can watch and see things are being done properly, then it paves the way for a good experience. If the coffee is then "not so good", it's a disappointment. However, how good does the same espresso taste if you've watched and seen the barista seemingly get just about everything wrong? Does it taste better because you were expecting it to be worse? Or do these negative elements make it taste worse than an identical shot seemingly prepared in a more accomplished manner?

It's all psychology, one way or another, I suppose. Things only taste the way we think they do, in any case. Anything which helps the thoughts to be good ones (eg because we've seen something prepared in a way which reminds us of a previous positive experience) will, likely, improve the experience. Or will they?

Maybe I shouldn't renew my subscription to toomuchwine.com...
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