Mug’s Color Affects Coffee’s Taste, Study Says

February 14, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. mug /mʌg/ (n.) – a cup with a handle used for drinking
Example: He poured the hot chocolate into the mug.

2. barista /bəˈrɪs tə/ (n.) – a person who brews and serves drinks in a coffee shop
Example: The barista created a special Christmas drink.

3. latte /ˈlɑ teɪ/ (n.) – a hot coffee drink with hot milk on top
Example: I often order a latte in coffee shops.

4. blend /blɛnd/ (n.) – a mixture of a certain drink
Example: The coffee shop offers a new blend of coffee.

5. mindful /ˈmaɪnd fəl/ (adj.) – giving careful attention to or being aware of something
Example: Restaurant owners should be mindful of how they treat their customers.


Read the text below.
Coffee shops might want to consider the colors of their mugs, as a recent study found that colors affect how people taste coffee.

The study’s co-author, George Van Doorn, who works as a psychology professor at Federation University Australia, came up with the experiment after a barista he met claimed that coffee tastes more bitter in a white mug than in a clear mug.

To test this claim, Van Doorn’s team conducted two experiments in Australia that observed how a coffee mug’s color can alter one’s taste. In the first test, the researchers asked 18 participants to drink latte in three mugs, each with a different color–transparent, white, and blue. All lattes have the same blend. Participants then evaluated the taste of each cup.

Results supported the barista’s claim as the volunteers said that the coffee in the white mug tasted less sweet than the other two. Also, participants claimed that the latte in the blue mug tasted the sweetest. In the second test, 36 participants underwent the same test and exhibited the same results.

With these results, Van Doorn suggested that coffee shop owners and baristas should be mindful of their mugs’ colors when they serve coffee to customers. The study’s co-author Charles Spence [spens], who has studied on colors’ impact on food taste for more than 10 years, plans to conduct a similar study with a larger group.

In 2013, a different group conducted a similar study, which found that hot chocolate tasted better in cream-colored mugs.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the study’s findings? Why or why not?
·         Which coffee mug color do you prefer—transparent, blue, or white? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         Why is the presentation of food and beverage important in restaurants?
·         Do you think businesses should invest more on food aesthetics? Why or why not?

February 14, 2015