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Gift Lab

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Is a DIY G&T as Easy as it Seems?

November 23, 2016

lab-coat

Research

Some say it tastes like Christmas, but I say it’s more like pure class in a glass. Scientists think liking it might mean you have a dark personality (I also drink my coffee black – uh oh), but I think you’re crazy if you hate it. It’s the gin & tonic, people, and I’m a fan. And so, when I saw the Gin & Tonic Making Kit in our assortment, I knew I had to try it out for my next gift lab.

Gin and Tonic Making Kit - UncommonGoods

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Fermentation with Friends

November 3, 2016

Research

Last summer, I canned for the first time with fellow UGooders and loved sharing and eating the spicy pickles and peach blackberry jam we created. While both received many compliments, I knew I’d be nowhere without our fearless leader Louise’s technical expertise in the kitchen. As for pickled veggies I haven’t made myself; pickled onions have turned many a salad from mediocre to magnificent, and from a health perspective, I’ll take all the probiotics I can get. As soon as I saw this DIY Fermentation Kit come into the UncommonGoods assortment, I had to try it for myself.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: A Handy, Hangable
Bluetooth Speaker

October 27, 2016
Tanya Gift Lab
Product 

SoundFlex Bluetooth Speaker 

Research

I’m always trying to fit podcast listening into every at-home task that I can: cooking, folding laundry, braiding my hair. I also like to listen to music while I clean my apartment, shower, and start my work day. My phone speaker isn’t loud enough and doesn’t provide good enough sound quality to be used without headphones. I’ve tried other Bluetooth speakers and because they’re bulky or a pain to move around, they typically hang out in one room. I don’t think this will be the case with SoundFlex because it’s small and slim.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Will Using an Updated Instant Camera Be a Snap?

October 14, 2016
Instant Camera Gift Lab
Research

As a photographer I’ve played with all kinds of cameras, from high-end digital cameras to dollar store 35mm, and Polaroids are no exception. So when I saw that the classic Polaroid camera has been re-imagined for the digital age with the I-1 Analog Instant Camera, I knew I had to test it out. With a trip to London and Paris coming up, I had the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Does Beer Make Everything Better? (Even Pretzels and Mustard?)

October 5, 2016
Emily Gift Lab Pretzels and MustardResearch

I’ve always been a fan of pretzels. From your standard UTZ variety, which were often packed away in ZipLocs in my elementary school lunches, to the inimitable Auntie Anne’s (cinnamon, obviously) which have suckered me in at shopping malls and train stations alike, I’ve loved ‘em all. Something about fall makes pretzels seem like especially appropriate snacks, and I’ve been craving them as the air has gotten chillier. Maybe my small sliver of German ancestry has me feeling some lingering Oktoberfest vibes all the way on Long Island – in which case, this experiment is all the better, since it involves a fair amount of beer. I’ll be using the Craft Beer Pretzel Mix as well as the Make Your Own Mustard Kit, which also calls for beer as an ingredient, because what goes better with beer pretzels than beer mustard? I’m hungry. Let’s try it.

Hypothesis

Beer will make everything better, including homemade pretzels and mustard.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Can This Filter Bottle Provide Hydrated Hiking without a Heavy Pack?

September 28, 2016

Laura Gift Lab Water Bottle

Research:

Anytime I go hiking, I make sure to bring plenty of water. This usually means hauling around a 2-liter water bottle that’s too big for my hip-pack. (I know, it’s really a fanny pack, but “hip-pack” sounds so much cooler than a bad fashion choice circa 1989.) A big water bottle means hiking with an even bigger backpack to hold it in. So, how can I use my lighter pack and still carry enough water? Perhaps I should give the Adventure Filter Water Bottle a try.

I haven’t gone on hikes any longer than 10 miles, so I’ve never purchased any kind of trail-side water filtration system. My guy and I planned to do a 4+ mile trip where we were camping at Mongaup Pond Campground, so I figured this would be a good time to test out something in that category. I wanted to fill up my bottle from one of the spouts with drinkable water before we headed out.

Hypothesis:

The Adventure Filter Water Bottle will be easy to use on the trail, and it’ll filter water so it’s clean and tasty.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Can You Do Cold Brew Coffee at Home?

September 22, 2016

Randy and Cold Brew

Abstract:

Coffee is good. Hot coffee when it’s still hot out is not so good. Will the Cold Brew Coffee Maker save me?

Background:

I am one of about 2/3 of adult Americans who will have a cup of coffee today at work. But in the dog days of summer, hot drinks aren’t really what I’m thirsting for. Unfortunately, every time I’ve tried to make iced coffee it came out bitter. It usually just sits in my fridge as a testament to my failure for a few days before I toss it.

Maybe I’ve just found 1,000 ways not to make iced coffee.

With that in mind, I set off with the Cold Brew Coffee Maker to try one more time.

Before I picked up this coffee maker I had no idea what “cold brew” meant. As I learned from the instructions, it’s a method of brewing where cold water is slowly percolated over ground coffee. The cold water prevents the bitterness of the beans from flowing into the retaining jar, and the slow pace allows plenty of flavor to end up in the final product. It takes a while, and the longer you allow it to take, the more flavor will end up in your cup.

Hypothesis:

My null hypothesis: I can’t make a decent cup of iced coffee.

My alternative hypothesis: I can (if I use the right tools).

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