We first eat with our eyes and then with our mouths. Colour and design have a magical influence on our senses. A few strands of saffron turn an off-white looking sheera into a colourful concoction and a pinch of turmeric gives any dish that golden yellow glow instantly appealing to our visual senses. While the way food or drink appear has a major sensory impact on human beings, the way it is presented also affects the way food is perceived even though the qualities influencing the perception are extrinsic to the cuisine itself. Expert chefs are known to use colourful plates or artistic crockery and tableware to create visual master pieces with food, charming the consumers with their dishes.
A recent research by a team of researchers published in Flavour Journal has found that the colour of the mug or cup in which coffee is served influences the perceived taste and favour of coffee. Three coloured cups - white, blue and clear - were used to see the impressions of colour on people’s perception on flavour, bitterness, sweetness and quality of the cup. Cafe Latte was the type of coffee used to test the colour-coffee flavour interaction.
Interestingly, participants found that coffee in the white cup which is most widely used to drink coffee across the world had intensified bitterness and diminished sweetness compared to the clear mug. The blue mug on the other hand intensified both sweetness as well as bitterness. The study indicates that the colour of the cup in which coffee is served not only has artistic value but also the overall coffee drinking experience.
This research is significant especially in the light of increasing coffee consumption and burgeoning cafes across the world. Baristas and cafe owners perhaps need to analyse the choice of crockery and presentation while planning their business ventures to successfully appeal to the consumers. One wonders if the steel grey tumblers that are normally used in fast food joints and homes in India negate the colour-flavour interaction or enhances it; is something that has to be researched.
Source: Flavour Journal - http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/3/1/10
Details of Researchers : George H Van Doorn1, Dianne Wuillemin1 and Charles Spence2
School of Health Sciences and Psychology, Federation University Australia, Northways Road, Churchill, Victoria 3842, Australia
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, UK