On the Washing of Tea

The Gastropod podcast “looks at food through the lens of science and history”, so it’s only natural that they’ll cover stuff relevant to our interests here at Doing Science to Stuff. The May episode The Cocktail Hour provides a fascinating look at not only the history and craft of cocktail making, but also some modern techniques for enhancing the cocktail experience.

Initial observation:

Toward the end of the episode, they discuss a technique called boozewashing. The fundamental idea, expanded upon in Dave Arnold’s Liquid Intelligence, is to use chemistry to pull undesirable flavors out of a drink. In this case, using proteins in milk to pull polyphenols like tannins out of tea-infused vodka.


How big an impact does boozewashing have on the flavor of tea-infused vodka? Does it impact mouth-feel at all? What about the overall appearance of the vodka?

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A hot cup of tea

There are times when you can look back, and recognize the folly of your relative youth. Times when you didn’t realize the fleetingness of existence and proceeded with your life, careless that the world around you may forever change. In particular, pertinent to this day and this post, I keep kicking myself for passing up a chance to see Douglas Adams when he came to speak at my university. That was April 25, 2001. He died May 11, 2001 of a heart attack. I had thought to myself, that surely, I would have a chance to hear this great man again, and that missing this one university event wouldn’t matter too much to me.

So. To honor the anniversary of the birth of Douglas Adams, our first science experiment regards, in part, the thermal properties of a cup of tea.

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