We use cookies to give you the best personal experience on our website. If you continue to use our site without changing your cookie settings, you agree we may place these cookies on your device. You can change your cookie settings at any time but if you do , you may lose some functionality on our website . More information can be found in our privacy policy.
Please provide more information.
Stylus no longer supports Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9. Please upgrade to IE 11, Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge. This will ensure you have the best possible experience on the site.
Brief Published: 10 Jan 2013

Crockery Colours Affect Flavour


The colour of the cup from which you drink your tea, coffee or hot chocolate can significantly alter the flavour, according to new research.

Orange or cream coloured cups delivered a better flavour to drinkers than red or white cups, according to researchers from Oxford University and the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

The results are intriguing for scientists researching how the brain processes visual information about food. They could also be of interest to chefs, restaurants and the food packaging industry.

Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, from the Spanish university in Valencia, said: “There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain colour or shade. 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.”

They asked 57 volunteers to sample hot chocolate from plastic cups in orange, cream, red and white, and then rated each drink on a scale of one to ten in categories such as sweetness, chocolate flavour, chocolate aroma and how much they enjoyed it.

Orange cups were judged to deliver the most intense chocolate flavour, while cream mugs scored best for aroma and sweetness.

The researchers have tested taste levels using plates too. Professor Charles Spence, co-author of the study, said: “Perhaps the most striking evidence for this came from a recent study we did [where] we found that a strawberry flavoured dessert tasted 10 per cent sweeter and over 15 per cent more flavourful when served off a white plate than when served off a black plate.”