Why Is It So Much Easier to Spill Your Coffee Than Your Beer?

Did you ever wonder why it’s way easier to spill coffee than beer? It's not because you're more careful when carrying beer. It’s because beer foam damps sloshing, researchers show.
481857391

481857391

Photo by: Okea

Okea

Did you ever wonder why it’s way easier to spill your coffee — as all those stained shirtfronts will attest — than it is to spill your beer? No, it’s not because you take more care when carrying your beer or, as one YouTube commenter has suggested, because you drink your beer more quickly. At least, it’s not only for those reasons.

Turns out it’s because the beer foam — obviously absent from your coffee cup — has a damping effect when you stop short and slosh your pint of beer.

Researchers at Princeton University and New York University presented a study at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics concluding that beer sloshes, or oscillates, much less than water or coffee due to “the influence of the foam on the sloshing dynamics.” Furthermore, they determined: “2 to 3 layers of bubbles are sufficient to significantly damp the oscillations. For more than 5 layers of bubbles, the original vertical motion of the foam becomes mainly horizontal.”

The researchers, who hope their findings may prove helpful when applied to industrial liquid transport, have released a video — complete with snappy music — further exploring why beer is easier to carry than coffee. It was posted on YouTube by NYU’s Particles, Interface & Fluids Lab.

Certainly the findings are provocative. One commenter wondered if the foam in a cappuccino might render coffee equally difficult to slosh. Good question. Another saw the hand of fate at play, marveling, “[It’s] as if beer was made for drunk people.” As if …

Keep Reading

Next Up

10 Kitchen Tools That Make Whole30 So Much Easier

We’re about to spend a lot of quality time in the kitchen during Whole30, so let’s get the tools to do it right!

This Ice Cream Rose Is Much Better Than Real Flowers

Let your ice cream obsession blossom.

This Caddy Made Washing My Dishes So Much More Sanitary

It's a simple fix that goes a long way!

One Recipe, Two Meals: Stuffed Burgers with So. Much. Cheese.

Make stuffed burgers with white cheddar for your kids and pimento cheese for you. If you need to lie down, I totally get it.

Make Coffee Your Secret Ingredient

Why you should use coffee in savory recipes.

Make Your Own Iced Coffee

Sipping on a tall cup of iced coffee may be refreshing in the summer heat, but load it up with creamy and sugary add-ins and your drink can rack up the fat and calories. Here’s the skinny on creating a lighter iced coffee and more on one hot trend for making a cup of Joe: cold brewing.

Food Fortification: How Much Is Too Much?

Most health conscious folks are looking for foods full of vitamins and minerals, but some products tout good stuff that doesn't exist there naturally.

5 Coffee Hacks to Make Your Mornings Easier and More Flavorful

Melissa d’Arabian shares five tried-and-true tricks for brewing and using the ultimate pots of coffee.

Viral 'Cooking with Your Mouth' Video Is So Gross and So Funny

Here are 12 moments in the thoroughly repulsive, bizarre-to-the-point-of-bonkers viral video that will make you laugh.