Tag Archives: insulation

Destroying the diffusive layers in a latte in order to observe the insulating properties of milk foam

Have you ever noticed how, if you stir your latte*, when you pull out the spoon it’s piping hot, yet there is no steam rising from the latte itself? That’s because the milk foam on top is such a good thermal insulator thanks to all the tiny air bubbles trapped in it. Cool, isn’t it?

*I never noticed before today, when my friend Sara pointed it out, because I have NEVER before put a spoon in my latte. Because I am always observing double-diffusive mixing in my latte and would never do anything that might destroy the stratification. But this once it might have been worth it. The things we do for science… :-D

Do you love #kitchenoceanography, too?

The insulating properties of marshmallows

Ending hot-beverages-week in style.

So now we know how to cool down your tea by blowing on it and how to cool it down quickly (or not) by adding milk. So what if you wanted your hot chocolate to stay warm for as long as possible?

Yes! You should add marshmallows to prevent heat transfer both by evaporation and conduction.

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Elsa, I’m pretty sure it was you I had that hot chocolate with back in 2011. Recognize your hands?

Actually, no matter what temperature you like your chocolate best at – you should always add marshmallows! :-)

For those of you who want to read more about marshmallows and ocean mixing, check out a very nice post here. For those others getting worried that I’ll only talk about tea until the end of time – nope! Tea week is now officially over and we’ll be back with “real oceanography content” pretty soon!