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Everyday Stoichiometry

The quantitative relationship between reactants and products in a chemical reaction

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Practice Everyday Stoichiometry
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Stocking the Stand

Stocking the Stand

Credit: Petr Kratochvil
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffee-latte_-_Petr_Kratochvil.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

You see them everywhere – in shopping malls, airports, grocery stores, and the free-standing drive-through coffee locations. Cars line up for a cup of coffee as a part of the morning commute. Students need to make a coffee stop before classes. Everybody needs that cup of coffee (or several) to get through the day.

News You Can Use

  • Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Kids do it when they set up the lemonade stand on the sidewalk during those hot summer days. Others provide services, such as washing cars or baby sitting. The more enterprising among us may want to open a coffee stand, a growing business around the world.
  • To make your project a success, careful planning is in order. You first need a place to open your stand. The initial investment can be very expensive. A coffee cart may cost over $20,000. A somewhat larger stand can cost well over $40,000. If you want a drive-through stand, you usually need to lay out more than $50,000. And that’s just for acquiring the property. Other costs include refrigerators, coffee makers (complete with steam generation for heating the milk), and perhaps a microwave for warming the pastries that you will be selling. Don’t forget the punch cards so you can offer “buy ten and get one free”.
  • Credit: wagdi.co.uk
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wagdy/320202034/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The equipment for a coffee stand can be expensive, but don't forget about the labor! You still need someone to make and serve the coffee [Figure2]


  • Now you actually need to make some coffee. Anybody can brew a pot of ordinary coffee, but you want to go the specialty route (you can also charge more for these drinks). You’ll need coffee (how many scoops for a single? a double?), milk (what size cups will you be serving? A 16 ounce special seems to be fairly common). Flavorings are essential, so you need to decide how much to put in each menu offering (some stands go by “eyeballing” the amount, others measure it out). So you now have your basic latte, you know how much of each constituent you need, and you are ready for business. Of course, you will expand your offerings in time and will need to do these calculations again for each different item.
  • Watch a video about making a latte at the link below:


Show What You Know

Use the links below to learn more about coffee making and stoichiometry. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What does a balanced reaction need?
  2. Do the problems at the wisc-online site.
  3. How do mining companies use stoichiometry?
  4. How much pumpkin syrup would you need to make four lattes?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Petr Kratochvil; Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffee-latte_-_Petr_Kratochvil.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: wagdi.co.uk; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wagdy/320202034/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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