Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Better Living Through Chemistry

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Edward Hessler

The phrase in the title of this post is the popular variant of the long-running Dupont advertising slogan (1935-1982) "Better Things for Better Living...Through Chemistry."

I thought of it when I read NPR's Jodi Helmer short essay about a new kind of coffee. Beanless coffee, that is.

Two entreprenuers, Jarrett Stopforth and Andy Kleitsh, founded their company, Atomo!, with the idea of separating and cataloguing "more than 1000 compounds in coffee," and then re-engineering and marketing it. There is more than caffeine, a molecule that often decorates chemist's coffee cups, in coffee.

Helmer notes that the resulting beanless coffee, hard won after many trials, "is a mixture of dozens of compounds found in food, such as antioxidants, flavonoids and coffee acids." Caffeine is added to the final brew.

I hope you read Helmer's short essay which includes a discussion of chicory coffee, still popular in New Orleans and next steps for Atomo!, a Kickstarter campaign. I was interested to learn that coffee without beans can still be called coffee because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have a 'standard of identity' or official definition for coffee."

You've probably seen chicory (in the family that includes dandelions), a transplant from Europe and now common along road ways.  It's blue flowers are among my favorites. Soul filling.




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