Since the dawn of time…or at least since coffee first went mainstream…a certain contingency of experts have claimed that the colour of the cup you use has a marked impact on the flavour of the coffee. It’s of course no secret that paper, plastic, china and metallic cups can indeed have an effect on the coffee itself and potentially impact taste, but in terms of visual elements of the coffee cup alone, it’s a much more far-fetched concept to take on-board.

Sadly for some, there are likely to be some very smug faces around the world today as research suggests that the far-fetched notions of the few may in fact have been right on the money all along.

If at this precise moment in time you happen to be sipping a black coffee from a brown cup, you might want to think about trading-up. Why is this? Well, if evidence from the Monash University in Melbourne is anything to go by, you’re doing your taste buds a disservice.

"The idea behind this study came about serendipitously," writes George Van Doorn, the psychologist behind the paper.

 "A barista once told me that when coffee is consumed from a white, ceramic mug, it tastes more bitter than when drunk from a clear, glass mug."

In terms of what exactly it is about the colour it is that makes the difference, it’s apparently nothing more complex than how the background colours make the coffee look lighter or darker. When subjects were asked to taste various coffees in various coloured cups, evidence strongly suggested a near-universal pattern of taste being affected by the cup’s colour.

“The white mug enhanced the perceived "intensity" of the coffee flavour relative to the transparent mug,” the report continued.

“Our hypothesis was that a crossmodal association between brown and bitter exists and that bitterness, and possibly other attributes, would be enhanced by the colour contrast,”

"Intensity" was graded on a handful of 0-100 scales: sweetness, bitterness, aromatic strength. The process was then repeated in a second experiment, with 36 volunteers, but this time, the shapes of the mugs were identical. The results were similar to the first experiment.”

So the conclusion was a pretty obvious one on the whole – there’s a heck of a lot more to the flavour of the coffee we drink than the roast alone.

"Café owners, baristas, as well as crockery manufacturers should carefully consider the colour of the mug and the potential effects that its colour may exert over the multisensory coffee drinking experience,” he concluded.

In terms of which colours make the best choices, the fact that white gives the coffee drinking the most accurate representation makes it the clear choice for anyone worried their taste buds may be inadvertently affected by their eyes. But in any and all cases, it certainly paves the way for experimentation – the idea of a single type of coffee tasting different in every cup you serve it in is quite compelling to say the least!

And were you to choose a clear glass cup, technically it would be the background immediately behind the cup that would make the difference!