Two researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford have proven that hot chocolate tastes better in an orange or cream coloured cup than in a white or red one. The study adds to recent research demonstrating how our senses perceive food in a different way depending on the characteristics of the container from which we eat and drink.
"The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma," as explained to SINC by Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain). Along with her colleague Charles Spence, from the University of Oxford (UK), the scientist has come to the conclusion in the case of drinking chocolate.
Both conducted an experiment in which 57 participants had to evaluate samples of hot chocolate served in four different types of plastic cup. They were the same size but of different colours: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside.
Published in the 'Journal of Sensory Studies', the results reveal that the flavour of chocolate served in orange or cream coloured cups was better for the tasting volunteers.
However, the sweetness (not the flavour of the cocoa) and the aroma (the smell) where hardly influenced by the colour of the cup, despite the participants mentioning that the chocolate was slightly sweeter and more aromatic in a cream coloured cup.
"There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain colour or shade," recognised 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."
According to the study, these results are relevant for those scientists interested in understanding how the brain integrates visual information not just from the food itself but from the receptacle or container from which it is consumed.