5-speed listening (Level 6)

Mathematicians work out the perfect cup of coffee



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Mathematicians are using their analytical skills to understand what makes the perfect cup of coffee. It might seem odd that a team of mathematicians is trying to establish what is behind the perfect cup of coffee until you realize that coffee consists of over 1,800 chemical components. If you combine these with the different ways of brewing coffee, it makes sense because there are a lot of numbers involved. Mathematicians from universities in Ireland and England used some complex calculations to determine how to make an ideal cuppa. Researchers Dr William Lee and Dr Kevin Moroney focused on what happens to coffee as it passes through a variety of filter coffee machines.

The scientists hope their research will change the way coffee machines are made. Dr Lee told the BBC News: "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." In the near future, coffee lovers might be able to adjust many of the variables that affect the taste of the coffee as it is filtered and brewed. These include how hot the water is, how fast the water flows, the size coffee beans are ground into, the length of time it is brewed, and more. The research is published in the journal of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

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