Formula for the perfect cuppa unveiled

Last Updated 26 March 2014, 16:00 IST

British researchers have unveiled a mathematical formula for making a perfect cup of tea, which shows the optimum brewing time is two minutes and the ideal amount of milk is 10ml.

Undergraduate maths students at the University of Leicester took the challenge set for them by a building company to work out the precise formula for the perfect cuppa - for their builders.

They were asked to apply the theory from their mathematics degree course in a practical way and find an algebra equation to help builders to gain the maximum flavours from their tea.

Having undertaken their own independent study, ten groups of students presented their research, findings and conclusions to the building company Jelson Homes recently in a competition.

The final formula for the perfect builders' brew is: 'Perfect cuppa: 2B + 30R + E(m + q + t) + 10W'.

In the formula 2B denotes two minutes of brewing time, 30R is 30 seconds of resting time, E(m + q + t) denotes a big mug, a good quality tea bag and a treat while 10W stands for 10ml milk.

"We're really passionate about tea so the project immediately engaged us. As part of our research, we looked at many factors including temperature, strength and taste as well as the amount of milk to add," said Olivia Heath from the winning team of students.

"The perfect cup of tea was too good an idea to miss. It is something Jelson wanted doing, so the work done by the students had real value, and presenting their findings to an external client motivates students far better than an internal class exercise could," said the students' tutor, Dr Clive Rix.

"Yet it still contains the essential ingredients of applying mathematics to real problems: identifying the variable factors that affect the outcome, seeing how they inter-react and modelling them in a mathematical form," said Rix.

(Published 26 March 2014, 15:58 IST)

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