Sort your coffee mugs by color for a tastier caffeine fix without added calories. Java tastes differently depending on how you sip the healthy drink

By Markham Heid
Updated: December 02, 2014
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Like a bitter brew? Grab a white mug. Dig sweet, milder notes in your coffee? A clear cup's for you. That's according to a new study in Flavour that found the shade of your mug changes the taste profile of your joe.

The study team asked people questions about their java's taste after they'd sipped it from white, clear, or blue vessels. While the coffee in each was the same, the drinkers' responses shifted with their mug color. White cups intensified bitter notes and clear ones concentrated sweetness, a blue mug somehow supercharged both sweet and intense flavor attributes, the study found.

The researchers say "color contrast" accounts for their findings. White makes the brown of the coffee "pop," and your brain takes that visual data as a sign that the coffee will be strong and bitter. A clear mug softens that pop, and so tones down your brain's anticipation of bitter flavors. Blue is brown's "complimentary color," according to the authors. That means it both intensifies the brown but also primes your brain to expect sweet notes. (Similar studies have found fruity desserts taste sweeter when served on white dishes, as opposed to black.)

One caveat: The authors didn't investigate how cup color will change the taste of your that Chestnut Praline Latte.

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