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MUNDANE MYSTERIES: The Difference Between Cold Brew & Iced Coffee

There are two main ways to take your coffee: hot & cold. But if you prefer your coffee chilled, there are two main ways to consume coffee cold: iced coffee & cold brew. So, what’s the difference?

Iced coffee & cold brew often get lumped together, but there are some pretty big differences in how they’re made which affect both their taste & their cost. While they may be made from the same ingredients (basically just water & ground coffee beans), they aren’t prepared the same way. Iced coffee starts out as regular coffee, with ground beans being brewed in hot water, before the coffee gets poured over ice & served chilled. Simple as that!

Cold brew is bit more labor-intensive, which is probably why it’s preferred by coffee connoisseurs. As the name might suggest, you make cold brew by brewing coffee in cold water (as opposed to piping hot H2O). That lack of heat creates lower acidity, resulting in a smoother, sweeter taste. Coffee also infuses into cold water more slowly than it does hot water, which is why cold brew takes at least 12 hours to make. The ratio of coffee to water also has to be higher (1:5 in cold brew vs. about 1:16 in hot coffee). Cold brew is also considered higher quality, since the gentle & slow brewing process produces a more mellow, less acidic taste while also yielding a stronger caffeine concentration. And because of all this, cold brew ends up being more expensive than iced coffee.

Both iced coffee & cold brew are both more widely available during the warmer months, and which one you should order depends on your coffee budget and preference. Until things warm up, though, I think we can all agree that we should just stick to warming ourselves up with a nice, hot cup of joe (like the WFRE Country Roads blend from Dublin Roasters).

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Tapping A Shot Glass On A Bar

Whenever you’re drinking with friends, you may find yourself clinking all your glasses together before you all knock back some shots, sort of like a receptacle version of a high-five. And that’s pretty much the most popular theory behind the how that tradition originated. Because, while in ancient times people would just pass around a single cup to share, when that got phased out in favor of separate glass tapping all the different cups together maintained the same sense of camaraderie. Similarly, why do folks often tap their glasses on a bar or table before drinking from a shot glass?

It’s not clear exactly when, where, or why this began. But there are a few common reasons behind the practice most drinkers will believe. One is that, back in ancient times, drinkers would sometimes pour a portion of their beverage onto the ground to pay tribute to deceased friends who might otherwise have been drinking there with them at that time. Thus, many folks consider tapping your glass on the bar as a modern-day form of doing the same thing, albeit in a less wasteful fashion.

The other likely reason for the shot glass tap is that it may just be a sign of respect to the bartender, waiter/waitress, or watering hole overall. Because, while the toast is for your buddies, and the drink itself is for you, it would make sense to throw in a small tip-of-the-cap to those that made it all possible. There’s also an old Irish superstition wherein tapping your glass on the table rids your drink of evil spirits.

Whatever your reasoning, the bartender wherever you may be will certainly appreciate a tap on the bar more so than your drink poured over the floor.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or send an email to andy@wfre.com.

MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Tomato…Fruit Or Vegetable?

Tomatoes have been called a super food for their many vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits. Many people consider tomatoes to be delicious, but do you consider a tomato to be a fruit or a vegetable?

Well, botanically, a fruit is defined as the part that develops from the fertilized ovary of a flower. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the edible parts of plants that aren’t fruits. So, by definition, tomatoes are fruits.

But botanists don’t necessarily have the last word. In 1893, the Supreme Court had to decide whether a tomato was a fruit or a vegetable after a produce importer incurred a 10% import tax on vegetables coming into New York’s Port Authority (which fruits didn’t get at that time). The importer argued for the botanical definition, but the judges disagreed, ruling that in the “common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers”, the tomato was a vegetable.

Nutritionists, in particular, like to categorize the tomato as a vegetable since it has hardly any fructose (a type of sugar), which is present in many fruits like apples & bananas. Meanwhile, due to their sweetness, fruits are also commonly classified by their ability to be incorporated into desserts (which is why we have apple pie & not Brussel sprout pie).

So, is the tomato a fruit? Botanically, yes. Nutritionally, no. And, if you’d prefer to stick with the legal definition, the tomato is not a fruit, but a vegetable. But it might also all come down to where you live: in 2003, Tennessee made the tomato the official state fruit, while New Jersey officially named the tomato as the official state vegetable in 2005. And then, there’s Arkansas, which played both sides of the fence when it declared the tomato as both the state fruit & the state vegetable.

Bottom line: the humble-yet-versatile tomato can be whatever you want it to be.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

Andy Webb, a 25-year Radio entertainer & content creator, is the new Program Director for 99.9 WFRE & host of “The Free Country Free Ride” weekday afternoons from 3pm-7pm.

From his very first job in 1995, in his hometown of Meridian, MS, Radio has been the only occupation Andy’s ever known; from the age of reel-to-reel tape to today’s digital audio, he worked his way up through late-night air shifts all the way up to morning drive. Always an eager student of Radio, Andy has used every opportunity to hone his skills and personality into an affable mixture of humor and gravitas listeners can instantly identify with & latch onto. He’s been featured across many formats, including Country, Classic Rock, Adult Contemporary, Hot AC, Southern Gospel, and even Urban AC; and, as a testament to his talents and commitment to fun-yet-informative radio, Andy was awarded the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters“Radio Personality of the Year” award four out of five years between 2006 and 2011.

While having attended The University of Southern Mississippi on an Opera Performance scholarship, Andy always followed the path Radio set before him, which has taken him from Meridian to Hattiesburg, MS, to Charleston, SC, and now Frederick, MD. Andy enjoys spending time with his wife, Emma (a fellow Broadcaster), and daughter, Isabel, while also spending his infrequent free time golfing, wood-working, an motorcycle riding.

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