I am asking this for a friend because we cannot find the answer in google (but did learn a lot about cocaine, dj mixers, bread, concrete and ligers).

Seems like there must be a term/principle/something for this thing:
It's easier to mix cocoa powder into a tiny bit of water than a whole cup of water.
Is it easier to blend two things of different textures or consistencies or forms when the amounts of each type are quite different? When the wet thing is much less?

For example: In making a tea blend that involves two main textures: powder and granules, it's easier to mix the powder with the granules when I do all the powder at once and just a small amount of granules, then add that mix to the rest of granules.

What are the words for this?

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    From the examples you gave, mixing cocoa powder into water and getting tea to steep, I'd say the underlying principle involved is overcoming problems with surface tension by limiting the surface area of the liquid involved. Easier to get a suspension when you don't have to chase all the floaters down. Problems like this arise when the dry ingredient doesn't dissolve - powdery starchy things like cocoa and cornstarch - small light organic steep-y things like tea. I'm leaving this as a comment rather than an answer because I don't know whether or not there is an accepted culinary term for this. Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 13:23
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    I'll just leave this here... Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 13:34
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    I don't think it's an issue with the amounts being unequal, it's that it's often easier to work in the liquid a little bit at a time. (as you might with a roux thickened sauce, so you don't have to go to the trouble of whisking furiously to avoid lumps). I've also used a similar strategy when using powdered drink mixes.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 15:03
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    Oh ... and 'slurry' comes to mind, but that's generally used in cooking to talk specifically about thickeners mixed with a little bit of cold liquid.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 15:04
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    To the extent that you're seeking a word consider searching or asking at English Language & Usage; see especially tag single-word-requests.
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


There exists a term in organic chemistry called miscibility which is the property of substances to mix in any and all proportions and form a homogenous substance. Now, I believe this word is a start in the right direction in our search for what seems is a highly specific and seldomly used term (if it even exists?), being it feels as it fits in the same scope.

Our instinct could now be simply to negate the word miscibility - immiscibility. But this isn't right either as it means that our substances will not mix.

I guess we could say that both of these terms are partially correct, meaning our substances are partially miscible, or better yet conditionally miscible - conditioned on the proportions used.

I realise that this isn't exactly what you were looking for, as it doesn't carry the desired connotation merely on it's own, but I believe it's as close as we can get.


This is generally called a Slurry - you mix together a small amount of the fluid and your powdered ingredients until combined, and then introduce the mixture into the rest of the fluid. This helps you avoid clumping.

Typically you would see this when preparing gravy or sauces, where lumps are very undesirable, but the principle remains the same.

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    The OP is asking for a term describing the principle and/or why it works. You've simply given one use case. Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 15:50
  • Just verb that noun and be on your merry way. +1
    – Dacio
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:48

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