The Best Coffee Makers for the Serious Coffee Lover

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Other - Home & Garden | Posted on 30-01-2015

If you or someone you know is a serious coffee lover, then you understand that great coffee does not stop at quality beans; it includes the right coffee maker that can brew, drip or press your favorite coffee grounds. Below is a list of the best coffee makers for serious coffee lovers.

French Press

If you have never used a French press, you are missing out on the full flavor profile of your favorite coffees. A French press is a device that has a glass cylinder with a rod that extends down the center, attached to a metal filter at the bottom. The process of pressing your coffee allows the grinds to steep to fully infuse your water with its distinct flavor. While you want to use fresh ground coffee with your French press, they should also be coarse so they won’t easily slip through the filter when you press your coffee.

The top pick among French presses is the Bodum Kenya press, because it makes up to 34 ounces per press, and it has an easy-to-hold plastic lid, handle and frame. The reusable filter on this press is superb and does an excellent job of capturing all coarse grounds.

Automatic Drip

If automatic drip is your coffee maker of choice, then the Zojirushi EC-BD15 is your best pick. Not only does this luxury coffee maker brew up to 1.5 liters of coffee, but it brews into a stainless steel carafe designed to keep your coffee warm for up to 10 hours. It is perfect for households with multiple coffee drinkers or for the person who likes to brew coffee in the morning and sip it throughout the day. The stainless steel of the pot keeps your coffee from burning like it would in a glass pot, and the coffee maker has built-in sensors that allow you to remove the pot to pour coffee, even as the pot is still brewing.

Grind and Brew

If you prefer the flavor profile of freshly ground coffee but don’t have the time or motivation to grind your coffee first thing in the morning, invest in a coffee maker that does both, like the Krups KM7000.  This coffee maker grinds and brews up to 10 cups of coffee at a time. For a truly custom cup of morning Joe, this gadget gives you the choice of five different grind levels and three different strengths of coffee.

Percolators

For an easy, breezy percolated cup of coffee, you can turn to the Dualit Cordless percolator. This small pot will brew up to 12 cups of coffee in a matter of minutes with its rapid boil feature. If you are not familiar with percolators, they are an appliance in which you add your desired amount of water into a container with a basket that holds your coffee grinds. When you turn on the percolator, the water will heat and boil the grinds, as opposed to most coffee makers that add already hot water directly to your grinds. When the coffee is done, you pull out the basket and enjoy your flavor-infused roast. As with a French press, it is best to use coarse grains with a percolator.

The above coffee makers are perfect for fresh-ground coffee beans in your favorite aromatic blend. If you prefer flavored coffees that rival popular coffee chains, opt for a single-serving coffee maker that makes coffee with designated coffee packs.

Byline

Nigel Gladstone writes on assorted gadgets, knick-knacks, trinkets, items and toys; to view a great selection of assorted items visit http://www.yourspares.co.uk/hotpoint-spares.

A Basic Explanation of Osmosis

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Chemistry | Posted on 29-01-2015

Osmosis is the spontaneous transference of a fluid such as water through a semi-permeable membrane. The fluid flows from the side of low solute concentration to the side with higher solute concentration. The aim is to equalize the concentrations of solute on both sides of the membrane.

Terminology

A semi-permeable membrane is a thin layer of material that allows some things to pass through but prevents other things from passing through. The solvent is the fluid that passes through the membrane. The solute is the substance dissolved in the solvent. Together, these are called a solution. When considering the solute concentrations on either side of the membrane, a hypertonic solution has a higher concentration of solutes, and a hypotonic solution has a lower concentration of solutes. When both sides have equal concentrations of solutes, the solution is called isotonic.

Examples of Osmosis in Nature

Plants use osmosis to draw water and nutrients from soil. The roots are the semi-permeable membranes through which the hypotonic water in the soil flows into the hypertonic water in the roots. Osmosis also draws the water upward through the cells toward the plant’s leaves. Osmosis allows fish to maintain fluid balance in their bodies. In saltwater fish, the salt in the water is in isotonic balance with the water in the body of the fish. In freshwater fish, the salt in their bodies absorbs water. Osmosis causes fish placed in water with a different salt level than their natural environment to soon die.

Examples of Osmosis in the Human Body

Cell walls are semi-permeable membranes. Osmosis plays an important part in the transfer of water and nutrients from the blood to cell fluid. When you drink too much water, a condition called water intoxication occurs. This is potentially fatal because the water dilutes the solution in your system, which through osmosis pushes through cell membranes, causing cells to explode as they expand. When you become dehydrated, the solution flowing through your body becomes heavy with solutes, causing your cells to shrivel and die as water flows out of them. A process similar to osmosis is dialysis, in which an artificial kidney machine removes waste products from blood. However, in kidney dialysis, the membrane allows not only water but also salt and other wastes through, leaving the larger red blood cells to return to the patient’s body.

Examples of Osmosis in Industry

Perishable foods are preserved through osmosis. When you store fish, vegetables, and other foods in salt or brine, the salt concentration is hypertonic to bacteria cells, killing them through dehydration. Sugar is used in the same way to preserve fruit in jam. Osmotic dehydration techniques result in fruit that can be stored longer than by any other means of dehydration. Using reverse osmosis, in which a solvent with high solute concentration is forced through a semi-permeable membrane into the side with low solute concentration, it is possible to desalinate seawater so it is pure enough for drinking.

Osmosis is a natural phenomenon that influences the biology of plant and animal life. Human ingenuity has also made use of the principles of osmosis for water purification, desalination, waste treatment, food processing, and many other processes.

Along with Osmosis, Charlie Harrison writes about Reverse osmosis chemicals, organic chemistry, water treatment, waste management principles and other related areas.

The Basics on Why Alcohol Cannot Serve as a Substitute for Gasoline

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Energy Conservation Tips | Posted on 29-01-2015

There are plenty of myths floating around about alcohol as a viable fuel for the average vehicle. Some people have gone as far as pouring it directly into their fuel tank. Before anyone takes anymore drastic measures, the reality of using alcohol as a fuel source should be made clear. In short, alcohol cannot realistically ever be a substitute for gasoline in the engines that are currently on the market. There are many different reasons for this fact ranging from the economic to the chemical. The recent boom in ethanol-based products may have added fuel to the fire, but the idea of making a major move to gasoline as a fuel in any country is just not realistic.

Economic Consequences

The first factors to consider relate to the economic and infrastructure changes that would have to take place in order for the shift to occur. The country is already so heavily invested in the production of petrol that eliminating these practices in any swift fashion would do major damage to an already fragile economy. Additionally, the food supplies that would be required to create alcohol for sale as a fuel in the same quantities as gasoline would be enormous. There are already considerable problems with food supplies throughout the country as it is. Dedicating large numbers of crops to this alternate purpose would drive the prices of grains and other crops through the roof.

Like gasoline, there are many different chemical states of alcohol which can serve very different purposes. The types of alcohol that can conceivably be used as a fuel are slim. Only alcohol that is derived from some types of wood and particular cellulose products are usable. Like gasoline, alcohol is a product that must be manufactured for sale on the open market. Throughout history, the refinement processes necessary for producing gasoline have been far cheaper than the fermentation and distillation processes that are required to produce alcohol.  In addition to the slim and already taxed resources that would come into play, alcohol and gasoline differ on the chemical level as well.

Chemical Compounds

Gasoline, in its most basic form, is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. Alcohol is a mixture of hydrocarbons as well; however, they both perform differently under the conditions present in the average internal combustion engine. Essentially, alcohol contains oxygen while gasoline does not.  The differences are much more complex than this but, for our purposes, the basic differentiation will suffice. Engines are designed to run on gasoline, and their performance depends heavily upon the levels of certain chemicals in their fuels. Such chemicals include octane, benzene, phosphorus, and other critical ingredients. These compounds are responsible for controlling some very important aspects of detonation in the internal combustion engine. Sometimes called knocking, engines will experience erratic and uncontrolled detonation in the combustion chamber when the proper fuel mixture is not being burned.  These kinds of tendencies are especially prevalent when the engine is under a heavy load.

While alcohol as a fuel is scientifically possible, the practical considerations eliminate it as an option for replacing traditional gasoline on a large scale.  In fact, due to some of the economic and infrastructure-related reasons cited above, even ethanol only makes sense on a small scale.  When looking for the gasoline replacement in the world of alternative fuels, it would seem that the answer does not lie at the bottom of a bottle.

Byline

This piece was composed by Charlie Nickerson, a freelance writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico who focuses on cars, alternative fuel possibilities, the auto industry, auto related careers, auto repair and upkeep and other similar topics. To learn more about careers involving automobiles check out a truck driving career.

Image credit goes to voca dave.