Starbucks offers free coffee for the holidays

Starbucks Cheer
Starbucks is offering free espresso drinks for an hour every day (except Christmas) at 100 locations through Jan. 2. (Starbucks Graphic)

Free coffee for the holidays? Starbucks is making is so, but the Seattle-based company is making you work for it online.

Starbucks’ “Pop-Up Cheer Parties” are a movable feast, taking place every day (except Christmas) from now through Jan. 2, from 1 to 2 p.m.

The catch is that the parties are scheduled in only 100 locations across the country each day, and you have to check the website to find out where they’re happening.

When it’s party time, customers can get one free tall espresso beverage, plus a Cheer Card that feature special offers ranging from 50 percent off a Holiday Space flat white to a free holiday cookie with the purchase of a handcrafted beverage. The Cheer Card offers are redeemable through Jan. 2.


Scientists work on formula for a cup of coffee

The grain size of a coffee grind plays a key role in the taste. (Credit: Starbucks)

One coffee drinker’s perfect brew may be another drinker’s battery acid, but mathematicians say they’re zeroing in on the equations behind the taste of drip coffee.

The University of Limerick’s Kevin Moroney and his colleagues lay out the state of the art in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics. The findings could well spark a buzz in coffee-crazy Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks.

“Our model describes flow and extraction in a coffee bed, specifies extraction mechanisms in terms of the coffee grain properties, and compares the model’s performance with experiment,” Moroney said in a news release from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

One of the conclusions can be boiled down to a simple rule: If the coffee tastes too watery, grind the beans more finely. If it tastes too bitter, go with a coarser grind.

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