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Why Hot Chocolate Looks Better in an Orange Cup

What’s the trick to making a truly satisfying hot chocolate?  It may be less about the ingredients you use and more about which mug you use to drink it.  Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford conducted a study, asking people to try out several cups of hot chocolate and...

What’s the trick to making a truly satisfying hot chocolate?  It may be less about the ingredients you use and more about which mug you use to drink it.  Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford conducted a study, asking people to try out several cups of hot chocolate and then rank them based on taste.  Unbeknownst to the participants, all the hot chocolate was the same but when the responses were tallied, there was a clear favorite.  A majority of the taste-testers declared that the hot chocolate in the orange mug had the most flavor.

This isn’t just a random trick.  How people perceive the taste of food is influenced by many elements, including appearance or the price paid to acquire it.  (Anyone notice how that expensive bottle of wine just tastes better?)  “The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma” said Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, one of the study’s authors.

There’s no word yet on what color plate you should use to serve your chocolate-chip cookies.

The study was published in the Journal of Sensory Studies.

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Meet the Author

Suzan Eaton
Systems specialist at NG Library.