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It's All In The Vessel

Updated: May 18, 2021

Does your coffee vessel influence the taste and aroma of your specialty coffee in any way? Let’s dig a little deeper into this topic to better understand how the shape or size of a cup affects your overall coffee drinking experience.

What is the Shape-Taste Relationship?

SHAPE. Studies have shown that a drinking vessel’s texture, size, and shape down to its colour has an impact on a person’’s perception of the coffee’s flavour. Tests have shown that a person usually associates narrower mugs with more pronounced aromas, shorter mugs with more bitter and intense flavours and wider mugs with sweeter coffee notes.

TEXTURE. The outer shape of the vessel also plays a part in shaping the overall taste and experience. How? During a tasting experiment, bitterness ratings were reportedly 27% higher when participants drink from a mug with an angular surface. On the other hand, sweetness ratings were reportedly 18% higher when participants drink from a rounded surface mug.

COLOR. What color enhances the flavours of your coffee? Pink was the chosen color, which happens to enhance the sweetness of the beverage.

MATERIAL. Many drinkware companies choose to use materials that have a better heat retention feature. For instance, borosilicate glass is a great option for glassware and using a double wall cup also helps to keep the temperature of the drink stable.

EMOTIONAL ASPECT. According to The Coffee Sensorium - “Enjoying a cup of coffee goes beyond the mere perception of its SENSORY properties. It means that sensory characteristics alone are not sufficient to explain consumers’ preferences. The EMOTIONAL responses evoked by a cup of coffee must be taken into account as well. These emotional responses can be subjective, and they are not only tied to the coffee itself, but also to the container from which the coffee is consumed. Is it your grandmother’s cup? Is it a modern cup? Is it a beautiful cup? Is it the cup you brought home from that amazing trip to NYC? The coffee is perceived differently depending on all these attributes.”

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