The Effect Of Color On Taste

I’ve seen several different studies examining the effect of the color of food or a beverage on how it tastes. But this is the first one I’ve seen where they’ve looked at the color of the room in which the tasting is held. This study used wine, but it would undoubtedly be the same for beer, or any other drink. It certainly makes sense that your environment would effect the experience of tasting. Or as this short article in Drinks Business puts it, the “environment in which you experience a wine has a ‘profound’ effect on how you will perceive it to taste.” The study, conducted by Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, concluded that “Lighting and music can act as digital seasoning for food and wine.” I”m not quite sure about sound, but perhaps. Anyway, it brings up all sorts of possibilities about how we taste, and where. I’d certainly like to see more of this kind of research.

Be careful what room you drink in, especially what color it is.


  1. says

    This reminds me of learning about how environment influences intoxication.

    I must say, if I’m in a dark, smelly location where I don’t feel safe, it would definitely influence the taste of my beer. Course, that relates more to light, which is what color is regardless.

  2. Beerman49 says

    I’m a curmudgeonly “old fart” (as ye who’ve read my many comments here over the years know) of a different bent. If what I’m about to ingest smells bad , I won’t eat/drink it, regardless of the lighting in the room (I sniff close up to avoid any artificial air modifications that the venue has in effect).

    I have a sensitive nose, & abhor “dirty” smells, as in vinegar/sulfur/goat & sheepsmilik cheese (most of which smell like the animals from which the milk originated)/anything smelling remotely like barf (as in melting Romano/strong Parmesan/bleu cheese – the latter of which is too damned salty anyway; I have no problem w/mild Parmesan cold on a spinach salad).

    As for this study – it could have some scientific merit if it can be replicated consistently. Meanwhile, I prefer a college classmate’s assessment: “There’s no accounting for taste”.

    Survery geex forever have been trying to quantify intangibles (which taste falls into the category of somewhat, as there are infinite combinations & variations of the 5 basic elements of it), & forever have failed, except in the eyes of the “marketing geniuses” (whom I despise & think deserve summary execution!). We (should) know that the questions in such surveys always are rigged to some extent & often are somewhat redundant (as in rephrasing of a previous Q that’s posed later).

    Forever a cynical “sage” (LOL), I rest my case.

  3. says

    As a blogger about color’s effects, this article caught my eye. Is there more info on what colors enhance our taste buds? If so, I would like to know those which researchers found effective.

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