There are many different factors that impact how a cup of coffee tastes, such as the quality of the beans, the roasting process, the brewing method, but does the cup you’re drinking it from really matter? According to a recent study in Brazil, the answer is a definitive yes! Scientists at the University of Sao Paulo have run a series of tests on a range of coffee drinkers, and the results are very interesting.
What do the experts say?
The study tested a total of 231 participants, split between both amateurs and coffee tasting experts. They were served identical coffees in either a smooth or a rough surfaced ceramic cup, and asked to provide feedback on the differences in flavour between the two. The coffee experts found the coffee in the rough cup was significantly more acidic in flavour, with the amateur group noticing that the coffee in the smooth cup tasted sweeter. Both groups found that the rough cup caused the coffee to taste drier compared to the smooth cup.
Brazilian neuroscientist and coffee expert Dr Fabiana Carvalho led the study, and said this of the findings:
“These results demonstrate that haptic cues influence the judgment of basic tastes as well as mouthfeel attributes in specialty coffee, for both experts and amateur consumers. Such results should be considered by the industry when designing innovative coatings for coffee cups.”
What does that mean for coffee shops?
When Dr Carvalho talks about ‘haptic cues’, this refers to the feel of the cup on your skin as you’re drinking the coffee, which interestingly shows that it isn’t just the shape or colour of the cup that’s important, but also the texture. For coffee shops this is very useful information to consider when buying new cups, or even just deciding which types of drinks to use which cups for.
It’s also worth considering how the use of take away cups could be influencing the experience for your customers. Almost all standard take away cups are rough to the touch, but interestingly most reusable cups are comparatively smooth. On top of the environmental impact, it’s just one more reason why it’s important to encourage customers to bring in their own cups rather than relying on disposable paper cups.
For the coffee industry this information should be really useful in the design process, as they aim to create cups that enhance the coffee drinking experience as much as possible. Understanding how much touch can influence the flavour of a coffee gives designers a whole new area to explore as they try to find the best materials, shapes and sizes for specialist coffee receptacles.
If you’re looking to improve your coffee offering for 2020, WMF has a wide range of machines with a perfect option for any business, from the compact WMF 1100 S to the heavy duty WMF 9000 S+. Using cutting edge automation technology to create great tasting drinks with no need at all for trained baristas, WMF machines help you to keep queues down, and profits up. Download a brochure to see our full range.