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Fancy a hot chocolate? Use an orange mug, study shows

10th January 2013

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It’s January – the month-long festive hangover, which is cold, dark, and statistically boasts the most depressing day of the year. We all need a moment to curl up with a hot chocolate - but choose your mug colour wisely, because it might make your drink even more satisfying on these chilly winter evenings...

A group of scientists from Oxford University and Polytechnic University of Valencia conducted an experiment to determine what colour mugs make hot chocolate taste better. Each of the fifty seven participants drank identical hot chocolate from four cups of the same size but of different colours: red, white, cream and orange.

Surprisingly there was a consensus – the hot chocolate in orange and cream mugs tasted better than in red and white mugs. The cream coloured mugs were also judged to produce a sweeter-tasting and better-smelling hot chocolate.

Although the mugs didn’t actually change the hot chocolate’s taste, the study does suggest that there is a correlation between the colour of the mug (or visual stimuli) and the participants’ sense of taste.

The study reports: "These results should hopefully help stimulate chefs, restaurateurs and those working in the food and beverage packaging sectors to think more carefully about the colour of their plateware [and] packaging, and its potential effects on their customers' perception of the taste [or] flavour."

The next time you put the kettle on, take a moment to consider your mug choice and make your hot chocolate yummier.

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