Say what you like about ZDNet UK's team of crack newshounds and multi-talented techno journos, but we remain geeks to the core. One of our number came back from the lunchtime Safeway's run with a can of self-heating coffee -- which brought the office to a halt in seconds. Not so much for the questions of how nice it tasted or the ecological implications of such energetically spendthrift technology (from deeply unsound Nestle, no less), but how on earth the thing worked.
The can was duly energised and consumed -- it tastes much as you might expect of reheated coffee that's been sitting in a tin for several weeks -- and then pulled apart. It proved quite simple: a cache of powdered lime next to a pod of water: press the bottom of the can, the water goes into the lime, an exothermic reaction kicks in and wham! You have a piping hot liquid that tastes almost entirely unlike coffee.
We pondered the wisdom of launching a product depending on hidden caches of white powder, post September 11th. We wondered whether lime was caustic if spilled on trousers (apparently not). We considered whether you'd give backpack room to a couple of cans of this instead of beer when out hiking -- worryingly, yes, you probably would.
But one thing remains unchallenged, one essential truth that many suppliers of review equipment would readily attest: if it ain't broke, it ain't been in ZDNet UK.