# Math Figured Out The Perfect Cup Of Coffee

Posted: Nov 16 2016, 6:50pm CST | by , in News | Also on the Geek Mind

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Using complex calculations, mathematicians have been able to find out how coffee is extracted from grains in the filtration machine. This will help coffee drinkers optimize their joe by applying a more precise approach to making coffee, according to the report published in SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics.

With more than two billion cups consumed each day, coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and it is composed of over 1,800 chemical components.

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee has always been up for debate, but Kevin Moroney at the University of Limerick, William Lee at the University of Portsmouth and others found a technique that might make it easier.

This isn't the first time that mathematics has looked to coffee, but it is the first time that the results have been extremely meaningful. The results looked at drip coffee, which make up more than half of the coffee machines sold. They work by gravity pulling water through the filter and the coffee grains.

"Our overall idea is to have a complete mathematical model of coffee brewing that you could use to design coffee machines, rather like we use a theory of fluid and solid mechanics to design racing cars." Dr. Lee told BBC News.

The machine is on the path to that goal, saying "We looked at the effect of coffee grain size on the way that coffee comes out of a filter coffee machine. The really surprising thing to us is that there are really two processes by which coffee is extracted from grains. There's a very quick process by which coffee's extracted from the surface of the grains. And then there's a slower tail-off where coffee comes out of the interior of the grains."

Previously, people tried to grind beans too finely and the coffee turned out to be too bitter.

"What our work has done is take that [observation] and made it quantitative," said Dr Lee. "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."

It could help coffee drinkers grind their own beans and optimize their routines.

Dr. Lee said that his grinder is set to the largest setting because "The grains are a bit larger than you get in the standard grind, which makes the coffee less bitter. Partly because it's adjusting that trade-off between the stuff coming out of the surface and stuff coming out of the interior. When things are larger, you're decreasing the overall surface area of the system. Also, the water flows more quickly through a coffee bed of large grains, because the water's spending less time in contact with the coffee, helping reduce the amount of extraction too. If it's bitter, it's because you're increasing the amount of surface area in the grains. Also, when the grains are very small, it's hard for the water to slide between them, so the water is spending a lot more time moving through the grains - giving it more time for the coffee to go out of solution."

The researcher is hoping that this can be used in drip filter machines.

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