# Want a cuppa? Leicester fourth years create formula for the perfect brew

White, two sugars

Three Physics fourth years at Leicester have just added a spoonful of science to their tea.

As part of their module which makes them think of special topics to prepare them for publishing scientific research, Jessica Patel, Poonam Patel and Rutambhara Joshi decided to check out if stirring tea effected it’s cooling rate.

They got the idea for the study randomly while all the girls were having a nice cup of tea.

Rutambhara says: “This topic had to be unique and we have to come up with original ideas every week. It’s much harder then it sounds.

“Having tea and coffee around us and being eager for unique ideas, we just decided to work out the physics related to tea.”

Some serious spooning to do.

They concluded that stirring your tea does actually cool it quicker than just leaving it to stand. In fact, they even calculated that an average of 100 stirs per minute would cool it by a factor 1.06 – so thats 0.26 degrees a minute.

Yup, this was for an academic paper.

Normally, tea takes 16.3 minutes to cool to 25c, but with some proper stirring, the heat loss is increased by 4.86 degrees. This means it takes 15.4 minutes to reach the same temperature.

That’s a whole 0.9 minutes quicker. And a lot of math.

Rutambhara told us: “There are many variables that could affect the cooling rate of tea, for example different size, shape, material etc.

“In order to keep our work focused we only investigated the heat loss through the upper surface of the mug.”

Unfortunately they couldn’t tell us the different times for an Earl Grey or some Peppermint tea.

So will you be doing some serious stirring to cool your tea faster in the morning rush?

Rutambhara adds: “Personally, I don’t stir tea for it to cool down, I prefer to just blow it if anything, its just old habits.”

With not much of a time difference, probably not.