Do you have a favorite coffee mug? If straying from your favorite mug makes coffee taste less satisfying, it may have more to do with the color of your cup than anything else. A new study suggests the color of our coffee mugs can change the way we perceive the taste of our morning cup-a-jo.
The Sunday Morning Herald reports about an Australian study that finds participants drinking the same coffee had different experiences depending on what color mug they drank out of. Oxford University’s Charles Spence was one of the authors of the study and explains how he believes color can impact the way we taste many things, not just coffee. He says, “I have been working for more than a decade studying the impact colours can have on the experience of food. It doesn't just happen in laboratories - it happens in restaurants, too.”
Researchers involved in the coffee mug study report about students who were served the same coffee out of the same style cups in three varying colors; white, blue and clear. When drinking coffee out of the white mug participants perceived a more “intense” or bitter taste to the brew and thought it was less sweet than when they drank out of clear and blue mugs. When they drank out of the clear mug, the intensity just wasn’t there. The blue mug seemed to be what researchers call something inbetween the two - “kind of an intermediate”.
In the past, other studies regarding food and the plate it is served on have found that color can have a great impact on our tastes. Generally, red plates seem to be the worst color for perceived taste and is associated with “lower levels of consumption”. Though scientists are unsure why we associate colors of utensils with how our food will taste, Spence has a theory. He says, “When we see something new, our brain might be predicting what the experience will be like based on past experiences, and thereby altering the experience. But we can't say for sure. Not yet.”
What do you think about this study about the way we perceive the taste of coffee out of different colored mugs?
Do you have a favorite coffee cup? Do you think it’s color has anything to do with the way you enjoy your coffee?