If you ask me, one of the best things about winter weather is drinking warm beverages to beat the cold. Coffee is my favorite, but hot chocolate is a close second. Whether it's the just-add-water mix from a pack or a spicy homemade Mexican variety, there's something comforting about sipping on warm, liquid chocolate.
Looks delicious, doesn't it?
Well, it turns out, science has uncovered a simple yet unexpected way to make your hot chocolate taste even better, with pretty much no effort required—just put it in a different colored cup.
That's right, the color of your mug can actually affect how you interpret the taste of what's in it. Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford performed a study which found that participants preferred the taste of hot chocolate served in orange or cream colored cups.
It has to do with the way the brain interprets sensory characteristics of food. Ever wonder why there aren't many blue foods? The color blue acts as an appetite suppressant. Why did McDonald's choose the color yellow for those famous arches? Because warm colors can make you eat more.
With 57 participants, this is a relatively small study, but its findings suggest that restaurants and companies could benefit from using colors strategically (more so than they do already). So, if your favorite snack suddenly starts coming in different packaging, now you know it's because those evil marketers are using your own brain against you.