Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Non-boiling kettle

For those times when 100C is just too hot
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,

A kettle with two thermostatic settings. One takes the water all the way to boiling point and slightly beyond, as normal. The other cuts out at a lower temp, say 80C. For almost all drinks made with water from a kettle (apart from tea), water that is actually boiling is unecessary (and sometimes contraindicated) - plain hot water will do. Instant coffee, made with boiling water and no milk, is too hot to drink for about ten minutes, by which time I have normally fogotten all about it. By the time I remember, the drink has dropped below ideal drinking temp and I have to put it in the microwave to reheat - invariably making it too hot again.

In the US, 52 million cups of instant coffee a day are drunk. If each cup is 300ml, then the difference between heating this water to 100C and only heating it to 80C is a little over 360megawatts or about three power stations. I'd say that's a big enough saving to justify some government money to back this idea.

gravelpit, Aug 14 2001

Coffee Stats http://www.btintern.../FactsAndStats.html
This is where I got the figures for cups drunk per day. [gravelpit, Aug 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

10 Coffee and Tea Inventions We Really Need http://www.google.c...e+temperature&hl=en
Moaning tea drinkers. [-alx, Aug 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The elusive Rowenta KE-620 http://www.elektro-...serkocher/ke620.htm
"stufenlos einstellbarer Thermostat" is the adjustable temperature control -alx noticed. [jutta, Aug 14 2001]

(?) Don't drink Nescafe though! http://www.babymilkaction.org/
And you thought Microsoft was evil? [gravelpit, Aug 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Cafedirect http://www.cafedirect.co.uk
If you will insist on drinking coffee, get some fairtrade stuff like this. [-alx, Aug 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Brrr...This cup of coffee isn't heatin' up my hands like it used to. Guess I'll turn up the thermostat ;)
As for serious commentary, I believe that boiling is the standard temp because at 100°C the water dissolves more readily what you throw at it. I'm not sure the solubility of water at 80°C. Maybe an experiment on the matter is warranted. Not that I drink coffee, mind you. Where's my Swiss Miss?
Lucky_Setzer, Aug 14 2001

       [gravelpit]: I think you may have realise from the above annotations that instant coffee seems to do less than ring the bell of the connoisseurs who populate the 'bakery. May I remind them that using boiling water on coffee grounds will bruise the flavour. I also concur with them that instant coffee is the shit of the devil.   

       I think that this is baked (boiled?), having seen a kettle that did exactly this while being dragged around John Lewis by my other half. Since I can't remember who made it nor find it on the web (including John Lewis's web site) I regrettably have to leave this open. Who knows - I may have been hallucinating.
st3f, Aug 14 2001

       Apparently the Rowenta KE620 kettle has an adjustable temperature control for between 60-100 degrees C...but is a bugger to track down. See link.
-alx, Aug 14 2001

       Overkill or wot ??!! Just add a bit of cold water from the tap when the kettle has boiled.   

       Simplicity is the art of genius.
Mayfly, Aug 15 2001

       [Mayfly] Unfortunately simplicity is also the art of stupidity and it's often hard to tell them apart. Adding cold water cools the drink but does nothing to save electricity. Note that this idea is filed under Other:Energy not Food:Temperature. Your suggestion is like opening a window because the central heating is turned up too high. Lots of people do this but it doesn't make them clever.
gravelpit, Aug 15 2001

       But if you boil less water than you need, and then add cold water to make it up to the right volume, then you haven't wasted the energy.   

       Unless you count drinking hot drinks as a waste of energy like I do.
-alx, Aug 15 2001

       [alx]: Nope. The hotter you make the water, the higher the rate of heat loss, so boiling some of the water and topping up would be less efficient than heating the entire amount to the required temperature.
st3f, Aug 15 2001

       Ah, it's a fair cop guv.   

       I like this solution best though. Take the cold water. Don't boil it. Don't add anything to it. Now drink. There, lovely.
-alx, Aug 15 2001

       How about a kettle which detects when the liquid is boiling and cuts back the heat output until the user presses a "ready-to-pour" button which, if desired, heats the liquid a few more degrees so it's boiling again?   

       Boiling point varies with temperature and humidity, so setting a thermostat for 211F would ot necessarily work. Electronics to detect boiling, however, probably wouldn't be too hard.
supercat, Feb 23 2002

       There is already a kettle control available with a knob on that allows you to choose what temp you would like your water to be heated to. Unfortunately there is not much demand for it. You can buy kettles with them in Europe, Germany and Turkey to be more specific.
Vinny, Jul 25 2003

       + cos i'd have less time to wait for my drink :)
drainfood, Jul 25 2003

       //Boiling water may bruise the flavour//   

       <thermodynamics_understand=0> Solution: Pressurise it with helium or some other nonreactive chemical (possibly nitrogen, but that might affect the volatile organics in the flavour). That way the water can be 100C+ and not be boiling. Get the advantages of hotter water, and without the disadvantages of boiling it. <thermodynamics_understand=1> Unless it is indeed the evaporation of the water into steam that affects the flavour. Who knows? The idea might actually have some merit!   

       I wonder if you could separate coffee from water at room temperature by "boiling" it off at room temperature (probably there's a process that does just that but of which I am ignorant). Would that be more effective than freeze-drying?
Macwarrior, Nov 13 2003


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