The Perfect Cup of Coffee, According to Mathemeticians

Definitely doesn't involve a Keurig

November 18, 2016 9:00 am

How to make the perfect cup o’ coffee?

First, throw out the Keurig. Then, find an algorithm.

Mathematicians from the charmingly named University of Limerick in Ireland just released a study in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics (login required) on how to whip up the quintessential cup of mud.

Their findings? Using a “hideously complicated set of variables” and examining the nearly 2,000 chemicals in coffee, it turns out the size of a coffee grain is the most important factor.

“So now, rather than just saying: ‘I need to make [the grains] a bit bigger’, I can say: ‘I want this much coffee coming out of the beans, this is exactly the size [of grain] I should aim for,’” said the study’s co-author Dr. William Lee.

Also affecting taste: the shape of the filter, the flow rate of the water and which machine or tool is used in the brewing process.

As noted in the university’s news story, the researchers hope to develop a “complete theory of coffee brewing” that could reshape the design of filter coffee machines “in the same way that industry uses the theories of fluid and solid mechanics to design aeroplanes and racing cars.”

Until that math is perfected, however,  java fiends may have luck with this new smart “coffee instrument” named GINA, which takes the guesswork out of your caffeine routine.


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