In the olden days, the only math you used to make a cup of coffee was “How many tablespoons of Folgers do I dump in my Mr. Coffee?” But as our coffee drinking habits have become more refined, the math behind them needs to be more precise as well. It led a team of scientists to crunch the numbers on exactly how to make the perfect cup of joe. Sounds like we’re just a symposium on doughnuts away from finally nailing breakfast.
According to the University of Limerick in Ireland, where the research took place, the study, which was published this week in SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, looked at a “hideously complicated” group of variables despite narrowing its focus specifically to drip coffee. In the end, researchers determined that the size of coffee grains is the most crucial factor, though a laundry list of other elements certainly plays a role.
“From the shape of the filter, to the scale of a single grain, to the flow rate of water and which machine or tool is used, there are an enormous number of variables,” said Dr William Lee who co-authored the study. “But maths is a way of revealing hidden simplicity. By using mathematical analysis, we can begin to tell the story of which elements and in what order lead to the best coffee – we are now one step closer to the perfect cup of coffee.”