AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Is it Time for a New Hot Chocolate Mug?

Hot Chocolate in front of a fireplace on a cold winter’s day is one of life’s finest delights. And, according to research done at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford, the flavor of your mom’s famous hot cocoa can be enhanced by the color of the mug you drink it out of. It has been found that drinking hot chocolate out of a cream or orange colored cup can improve the flavor. Researchers had fifty-seven people drink the same hot chocolate (unbeknownst to them) out of four differently colored cups: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside. Most participants found that the beverage tasted best when had out of the orange and cream colored cups. This shows that the brain also takes into account visual stimuli, on top of flavor and aroma, when processing taste. Similar effects have been seen with other beverages as well. For instance, a yellow color improves the lemon flavor in certain soft drinks, a pink cup makes some drinks taste more sugary, and brown cups seem to give coffee move flavor. So, the next time you go to drink hot chocolate, make sure that you pick the cream or orange colored cup!

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  1. sciencegirl025

    It would make sense that color and presentation plays a role in the taste we feel when we eat something, why do you think restaurants and chefs spend so much time making their dishes presentable and “pretty”!? Check out this article about the importance of the presentation of food, it probably relates to why people would choose an orange or cream cup for hot chocolate, maybe it reminds them of sitting cozy near the fire–or the colors just look more appetizing!

  2. explodingllama342

    I find this pretty ironic because I hate the color orange and my coffee mug is blue, a color which fellow commenter arthenice identified as a color that tells our brains something is spoiled. This article talks about how color can actually make people overeat, which is kind screwed up because people in America don’t need to be influenced by colors to overeat.

  3. dwil

    I love hot chocolate so I think this is a very interesting article and post. It is amazing that taste can be so affected by something as simple as changing stimuli. I guess that is why so many companies add food coloring to their drinks and food products. Maybe it does have an effect on us! I found another article that talks about the relationship between color and taste, here it is.

  4. arthenice

    Very interesting stuff. Colors do have a large impact on our appetite. Turns out that the color blue is one of the lease appetizing colors because it generally shows that a piece of food is toxic or spoiled. Sensory especially visual sensory plays a large role in our food choices.

  5. troybolton

    I guess I am going to start drinking from an Orange colored cup! It is really interesting how much we perceive affects our other senses. There was a study done that looked at the effects of visual stimuli on our ol’ factory sense. The Scientists found that, in some cases, what we are looking at is more important than what we are actually smelling. When the pictures did not correlate to the odor, people actually found that the odor smelled better than before. It is really cool how our brain can trick us into perceiving things differently.

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