Math: An ideal 2nd cup of coffee

There is a best way – mathematically– to pour your second cup of coffee, says a study called Recursive Binary Sequences of Differences that will appeal to anyone who is truly pernickety about their beverages.

But no one realised it until the year 2001, when Robert M Richman published his simple recipe in the journal Complex Systems. During the subsequent passage of nine years and billions of cups of coffee, the secret has been available to all.

“The problem is that the coffee that initially comes through the filter is much stronger than that which comes out last, so the coffee at the bottom of the pot is stronger than that at the top,” says Richman….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS: A reader gives the method a try