Think your coffee tastes extra bitter today? You may want to switch mugs.
The color of your cup may be affecting the taste of your morning brew, says a new study released in the online journal Flavour.
The idea for the study was inspired by a barista who overheard customers claiming they thought coffee drunk from a white mug tasted more bitter than drinking from a clear glass container. Researchers conducted a series of experiments where participants drank coffee from white, clear and blue mugs and were then asked to analyze taste.
The study found that coffee drunk from a white cup tastes “significantly more intense”—aka less sweet and more bitter—than drinking from a clear or blue mug.
Humans tend to associate color with flavor and white is associated with bitterness. The brown color of the coffee “contrasts” significantly with a white drinking apparatus. Conversely, drinking from a clear cup enhances a drink’s “perceived sweetness.” Blue mugs apparently amplify both sweetness and bitterness, so the brew just tastes stronger overall.
The researchers claim their findings on mug color should “be considered by those serving coffee as it can influence the consumer’s multi-sensory coffee drinking experience.”