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Study Reveals Best Color for Hot Chocolate Mugs

The last time you sipped a coffee or espresso drink, what color was the vessel? That matters, as cup color may also affect the perceptions of coffee-drinking consumers.

orange coffee mug with lampTwo researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) and the University of Oxford (England) recently tested that theory on hot chocolate, with respondents saying that it tasted better when served in an orange or cream colored cup, rather than in a white or red one. The study adds to recent research demonstrating how our senses perceive food in different ways, depending on the characteristics of the containers from which we eat and drink, they say.

“The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma,” says Betina Piqueras-Fiszman of Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), who led the study along with Charles Spence from the University of Oxford (England).

In the study, 57 participants evaluated samples of hot chocolate served in four different cups of the same size but in different colors: white, cream, red, and orange with white on the inside. While the orange and cream cup got best reports for taste, although the sweetness and the aroma were hardly influenced by the color of the cup.

“There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain color or shade,” said Piqueras-Fiszman. “In reality this varies depending on the type of food, but the truth is that, as this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the colour of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine.”