The colour of your mug changes how good your coffee tastes, study finds

White china might not be so prized after all

There might be scientific reasoning behind your favourite mug, as new research has found that our perception of the bitterness of coffee changes dependent on the colour receptacle we drink it from.

The lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Flavour this month, picked up the idea from a barista who claimed that more customers complain about their coffee being bitter when drinking from a white mug or cup than a clear one.

The hypothesis was tested out on volunteers and indeed white was found to "enhanced the rated "intensity" of the coffee flavour relative to the transparent mug", with the researchers concluding that this was probably due to the contrast in colours.

Coffee "pops" in a white mug and is more likely to taste bitter to the drinker, but sees the opposite effect in a clear mug.

Clear cups might be optimal for taste

Blue mugs meanwhile were found to enhance everything meanwhile – both sweetness and bitterness – which is probably why I've stuck with a chipped old sky blue Lion King mug for years now.

"Both experiments demonstrate that the colour of the mug affects people’s ratings of a hot beverage," the study claims.

"These results support the view that the colour of the mug should be considered by those serving coffee as it can influence the consumer’s multisensory coffee drinking experience.

"These results add to a large and growing body of research highlighting the influence of product-extrinsic colour on the multisensory perception of food and drink."