Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Heavy Water Coffee

Grind beans and pour heavy water on them.
  (+9, -2)
(+9, -2)
  [vote for,

This morning I realized the #1 design flaw of coffee: it cools down too fast. Much of this problem can be solved by a well insulated coffee cup, but this will only go so far as a solution.

So I thought up a way of keeping coffee hot longer: use a liquid with a higher heat capacity. Of course vegetable oil coffee wouldn't taste quite right, so I propose using heavy water. I assume heavy water tastes the same as regular water, and other than being quite a bit more expensive than regular water I don't see why we don't make coffee out of it.

Added bonus effect: heavy water boils at 101.42° C, so you could start at a higher temperature. (Warning: Contents are hotter than boiling water.)

Additional product that this would create a market for: Heavy Creamer. Same as regular milk/non-fat milk/half-and-half/cream, except the contained water has been replaced with heavy water. This will allow your cream to not float at the top of your dense coffee. Determining ways of producing this without harming cow mitosis is still in the research stage.

Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

Heavy Water http://www.sno.phy....nsu.ca/sno/D2O.html
[Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Heavy Water http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_water
For [oxen] [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Is Heavy Water Dangerous http://www.straight...ag/mheavywater.html
From the font of all knowledge, The Straight Dope. [kropotkin, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Heavy water toxicity http://yarchive.net/med/heavy_water.html
Estimates it would take around 20kg to kill you. [kropotkin, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

D2O Moisturizer http://www.skinrxcl.../janeiredaled20.htm
It looks like someone else has found a marketing use for heavy water. [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Any health consequences?
oxen crossing, Mar 02 2004

       It's mildly toxic, but only if you drink only heavy water. Basically you are depriving your body of regular water. Although heavy water is fine for most bodily uses of water (disolving solids, etc.), there are some functions of the body that need light water (namely, mitosis). I'll find a link for you.
Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

       Of course the solution to the mitosis problem for those who only drink coffee and consume no other moisture-containing substances all day would be to only sell it in 50% heavy water strength. Um... and not sell it with a straw (due to higher density (but then who drinks coffee with a straw?)).
Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

       The difference in specific heat capacity is only about 5%. If you want something with a significantly higher specific heat, use liquid helium. Mmmm.
kropotkin, Mar 02 2004

       Nope, it's a no-cal solution. It's even Atkins approved.   

       [krop] Now that's just silly. We want hot coffee, not shatter-your-teeth cold coffee. Plus, I hate the taste of liquid helium.
Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

       Wow, only mildly toxic, just like chemotherapy. Sounds like fun. Sign me up. [+]   

       "The Heroes of Telemark" That's it! I've been trying to remember the name of that movie for several years. Thanks for the coincidence.
oxen crossing, Mar 02 2004

       Wow, only mildly toxic, just like botox. I can't stop smiling. [+]
yabba do yabba dabba, Mar 02 2004

Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

       //sell it in 50% heavy water strength// Would only half of it boil at 100° C?
FarmerJohn, Mar 02 2004

       Starbucks coffee cups become twice as small.
k_sra, Mar 02 2004

       [FJ] Yes. The first half will boil off at 100C, then the second half would boil at 101.42C. The fun part is that when they re-combine, if the second part hasn't cooled down to 100C by the time it hits the brewed coffee it will make the coffee boil again right in the pot.   

       Of course once it stops boiling it will return to 100C (mostly killing my start-off-hotter effect), but will still have the high-heat-capacity benefits.
Worldgineer, Mar 02 2004

       Coffee cups might be made of heavy metal.
normzone, Mar 02 2004

       (World) Haven't used a straw but I've been accused of "coffee on a stick" because I make it s t r o n g.

I remember hearing in college (doing the all-nighters) that if I put cream in my coffee it would take longer to cool off because it made the liquid ~heavier~ or thicker. Time difference seemed negligible. When you keep a pot on a warmer or reheat the pot it definitely gets a bitter taste and I thought that was from being heated longer. So I'm wondering if there might have to be way to adjust something accordingly to avoid that.

I recall when perrier et al first came onto the market and I thought "Who in the world would pay for a bottle of water?" HA! and double HA! Everybody is now. So even at 50% heavy water (less toxic), the novelty of a water specifically designed for coffee would appeal to a fairly large market. And see, heavy water kills the fish but goes nicely with a bun.
no12pass, Mar 02 2004

       I'm searching for a link... I've heard that heavy water is more than just "mildly toxic". Ingesting it in any quantity could prove most fatal from what I know about it.
zigness, Mar 03 2004

       Most of the links seem to indicate that it is only toxic in large amounts. Tritium-based water is probably more toxic as it is radioactive.   

       BTW, heavy water is hygroscopic which means it readily absorbs water. :)
GenYus, Mar 03 2004

       Starbucks renames its regular coffee to "heavy", its deuterium coffee to "weighty", and its tritium coffee to "laden".
phundug, Mar 03 2004

       [phun] Ha.   

       [oc] All that "Heros of Telemark" stuff. What coincidence?   

       [hb] I don't belive your authority unless s/he's linkable.
Worldgineer, Mar 03 2004

       Its in the wikipedia link, down the page a bit. Interseting story about how the allies sank a ferry boat with enough heavy water on board for the Germans to possibly get a chain reaction going.
oxen crossing, Mar 03 2004

       Just drink the coffee faster and not let cool down. Besides, your boss won't like it your coffee breaks are longer just because the coffee is still hot. :)
renegademonk, Mar 04 2004

       I like it. Some things just need to be... heavier.
egads, Mar 05 2004

       Possibly [Rods]. Heavier isotopes have lower vapour pressure ie they are less likely to evaporate.   

       If you boil a mixture of H2O and D2O, the H2O should evaporate off first, leaving a mixture enriched in D2O. Therefore if you kept going (for a long time) you could ultimately get to some heavy water. But bearing in mind that the natural abundance of D is only 0.015% or so, it's going to take a while.
hazel, Mar 05 2004

       Also likely true of pouring water in a cup, waiting a few minutes, and pouring most of it out. Repeat a few million times.
Worldgineer, Mar 05 2004

       Live dangerously and have a cup of tritium tea.
FarmerJohn, Mar 05 2004

       There's a marvelous sting-in-the-tail sci fi short in one of the Year's Best collections, where the teller is relating a tale of woe to someone he is making tea for. It emerges the teller's friends were collectively killed in an accident engineered by the listener. It further emerges that the outcome of the accident was a rare superheavy element with enormous explosive properties, that could be kept stable in a teapot. And I guess you can guess the rest.
DrCurry, Mar 05 2004

       I just drank a few mL of D2O a bout an hour ago. I'm still alive! I did taste a little weird, but it was pure and pure H2O tastes funny, too.
Packwidth, Oct 22 2004

       Thanks, [Pack]. I'll keep you in mind for all of my ginuea pig needs.
Worldgineer, Oct 22 2004

       I never heard from [Packwidth] again. Should I take that as a bad sign?
Worldgineer, Nov 10 2006

       There is one glaring problem with this idea - heavy water has a _lower_ mass-specific heat (and a very slightly lower volume-specific heat) than ordinary water.
spidermother, Dec 14 2011

       How about a mini-pressure vessel as the cup? You'd need a specialized attachment to transfer the coffee from the pressurized brewer. There'd also need to be a relief valve on the cup to allow you to sip the coffee without being sprayed with scalding java. While your at it, have the cup surrounded by a second shell with an insulating vacuum.   

       All heavy and expensive but, from what I've seen of high-end coffee machines, price and unwieldiness doesn't seem to be a barrier. This device should meet most of [Worldgineer]'s criteria.
AusCan531, Dec 14 2011

       Surely, for keeping coffee warm your best option would be tritium coffee? The increased mass would give the coffee even more thermal inertia, and the radioactive decay could even provide a small element of heating. Plus, it would provide an interesting novelty 'glow' effect.   

       If you're worried about radiation, one could presumably adulterate the concoction with ordinary deuterated coffee, which would act as a moderator.
Hive_Mind, Dec 18 2011

       //tritium coffee? The increased mass would give the coffee even more thermal inertia// No it wouldn't. (Hint: See my comment above; also, why was helium mentioned in earlier annotations?)
spidermother, Dec 18 2011

       Heavy water might inhibit mitosis, but that's not particularly important... you can live for quite a substantial period of time without any significant cell division. The real problem is that your mitochondria start to run out of protons to pump about the place while making ATP, that and other pH balancing pumps would be inactivated.   

       The glaring problem is that heavy water's actually worse at storing heat, per unit volume or mass than regular water. You MAY burn more calories on a Heavy Water supplemented diet... I'd imagine you'd gain a bit of weight due to the heavier water, you'd need more energy to move that about and your mitochondria wouldn't be working quite as well as they might meaning you'd gain a little in the Glycoysis:mitochondrial ATP balance. Glycolysis being less efficient.
bs0u0155, Dec 19 2011

       //you can live for quite a substantial period of time without any significant cell division// That sounds odd: can you clarify your reasoning?   

       Won't you have complete agranulocytosis within 2-3 weeks?
mouseposture, Dec 19 2011

       Chemotherapy, of course, drastically inhibits cell division for some time without being entirely fatal.
spidermother, Dec 19 2011

       Yes, yes, obviously, but how drastically? To the point of //no significant cell division// ? Except in marrow transplants, the goal is to suppress pathologically rapid mitosis (tumor) without suppressing physiologically rapid mitosis (like marrow) too much. No?   

       Not meaning to press the point, just trying to find out if [bs0u0155] has something in mind that I'm overlooking.
mouseposture, Dec 19 2011

       I was actually thinking of chemotherapy as an example. I was of the mind that 2-3 weeks was a significant amount of time. I think with enough H > D replacement you'd be dead of proton balance problems long before then.
bs0u0155, Dec 20 2011

       If you find you never have to clip your nails, time to cut down on the heavy coffee.
Worldgineer, Jan 10 2012

       Whoa... I'm back. Perhaps we should avoid baking this. The last eight years were a bit odd.
Packwidth, Aug 02 2012

       Welcome back! It's good to have a Halfbakery idea so rigourously tested.
hippo, Aug 03 2012

       I read the first few lines, and already it's hilarious. Bun!
EdwinBakery, Aug 03 2012

       Though, I'm surprised at your problem. My problem is often that coffee is served way too hot and refuses to cool down. Half the reason I put in milk/cream is to cool the coffee down. Like the coffee at starbucks: I'm convinced they have some kind of magic that defies the laws of physics and keeps the water liquid at above the boiling point. Damn the stuff is like lava!
EdwinBakery, Aug 03 2012

       //My problem is often that coffee is served way too hot and refuses to cool down. Half the reason I put in milk/cream is to cool the coffee down//   

       You have a few tactics here: 1. buy smaller coffees. the surface area/volume ratio will mean it cools faster. 2. leave the lid off for a bit. A few moments while it's really hot will mobilize a little water into vapor. A few moments when it's really hot will make the biggest difference. 3. put the milk/cream in as late as possible. The milk/cream is cool.... so it cools the coffee down, however if you wait a little before you put it in then the temperature difference between the fresh hot coffee and the surrounding atmosphere will cause the fastest rate of energy loss... then you get an additional cooling effect by adding milk. Energy transfer and temperature difference have a non- linear relationship... 4. take your own travel mug thing... preferably stainless steel: the thermal mass of the paper cup they give you is negligible. So when they pour the coffee in, it looses relatively little energy to the cup. A meatier steel mug, even though it's vacuum insulated, will take the edge of the temperature just because the coffee has to warm up more material. 5. Move to Denver: the altitude and low humidity should promote faster cooling... I'm not sure on the effects upon actual coffee making, it depends whether the machines compensate for atmospheric pressure variations, however, high altitude coffee roasting is supposed to improve flavour.
bs0u0155, Aug 06 2012

       Or Starbucks could market coffee ice cubes.
Worldgineer, Aug 10 2012

       Howdy, World.
blissmiss, Aug 10 2012

       or you could order one normal latte, and one iced latte, mix the two and you'll end up with 2 warm-but- not-hot lattes..
bs0u0155, Aug 12 2012

       Howabout going a bit upmarket and replacing the drinking water for the Civet cats with heavy water?
not_morrison_rm, Aug 14 2012


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