WASHINGTON - Want to impress your guests with a tasty cup of coffee?
Then do not serve your coffee in a white mug.
A study has found that coffee in a white mug tasted more "intense" or bitter than drinking it from a clear or blue mug.
The same brew of coffee drunk from the clear glass mug was not bitter to respondents of a test conducted recently in Australia, the Washington Post reported.
Those drinking from the blue mugs found the taste "kind of an intermediate," said Mr Charles Spence, head of the crossmodal research laboratory at Oxford University and one of the study's authors.
"We found a particularly significant difference between the white mug and the clear one."
The study covered only 18 participants, however, but Mr Spence, who plans to extend it to a larger group, said he expects to find a similar pattern.
He said he has been working for more than a decade studying the impact colours can have on the experience of food.
It is not clear how colour can influence people's experience with food.
One explanation, as reported, is that colours are seen usually in reference to other colours.
A red strawberry looks more red when placed against a white plate than it does against, say, a black one.
The researchers believe that brown coffee may be associated with bitterness.
When drunk from a white mug, the brew will look browner, and hence it will taste more intense.
Clear, glass coffee mugs, which dilute the color, will tend therefore to have the opposite effect.