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Lumpy Coffee

Yo, Matt:

Me and the boys here in Corporate Hell are pondering the Mystery of the Powdered Coffee Creamer. When I sprinkle the sinister powder on top of my hot coffee, it kind of coagulates into a strange form, like egg flower soup. No matter how much I stir it up, the soup remains. My friend Ben's technique is to put the creamer in the cup first, then pour the coffee in. Voila! His method does not create the Egg Flower Soup Effect. I'd love to come up with the real reason for this chemical reaction, and I knew just the person to ask.

-- Baffled in Cubicleville

Ben must have read the instructions on the creamer bottle. So I'm sure he's the office suck-up. No regular Joe ever reads instructions, right? Coffee creamer is, on average, about 30 percent vegetable fat, maybe as much as 45 percent. A little whey, a little casein, some lactose, some fat-loving and water-loving emulsifiers, and flavorings. In the manufacturing, each ingredient is reduced to as fine a powder or flake as possible, including the fat solids. The hope is that each granule will be saturated with the coffee as quickly as possible and either dissolve or float free in suspension in your cup, depending on the ingredient. The secret to saturation is agitation -- keeping the grains separate and moving. Dumping the creamer in the bottom of the cup fluffs it up a little bit, exposing more granule surface to the coffee, and it aids in agitation as the coffee is poured in and shakes up the creamer. A clump of creamer dropped from a spoon wets only a small portion of the powder and creates gummy lumps. The ingredients want to stick together, not disperse.

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Yo, Matt:

Me and the boys here in Corporate Hell are pondering the Mystery of the Powdered Coffee Creamer. When I sprinkle the sinister powder on top of my hot coffee, it kind of coagulates into a strange form, like egg flower soup. No matter how much I stir it up, the soup remains. My friend Ben's technique is to put the creamer in the cup first, then pour the coffee in. Voila! His method does not create the Egg Flower Soup Effect. I'd love to come up with the real reason for this chemical reaction, and I knew just the person to ask.

-- Baffled in Cubicleville

Ben must have read the instructions on the creamer bottle. So I'm sure he's the office suck-up. No regular Joe ever reads instructions, right? Coffee creamer is, on average, about 30 percent vegetable fat, maybe as much as 45 percent. A little whey, a little casein, some lactose, some fat-loving and water-loving emulsifiers, and flavorings. In the manufacturing, each ingredient is reduced to as fine a powder or flake as possible, including the fat solids. The hope is that each granule will be saturated with the coffee as quickly as possible and either dissolve or float free in suspension in your cup, depending on the ingredient. The secret to saturation is agitation -- keeping the grains separate and moving. Dumping the creamer in the bottom of the cup fluffs it up a little bit, exposing more granule surface to the coffee, and it aids in agitation as the coffee is poured in and shakes up the creamer. A clump of creamer dropped from a spoon wets only a small portion of the powder and creates gummy lumps. The ingredients want to stick together, not disperse.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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