Canadians love coffee

According to Coffee Association of Canada,  coffee is the most popular beverage amongst adult Canadians over 16 – even more than tap water! Meaning, that coffee is a pretty important part of a regular Canadian’s day-to-day. The industry contributed $6.2 billion to the overall Canadian economy and  $4.8 billion sales in foodservice. Of the traditional importing markets – North America, Europe and Japan, Canada is showing, by a considerable degree, the fastest sustained growth in the last decade.

Coffee Mug 1Restaurateurs are finding ways to add this favourite hot beverage to their menus in different, and exciting ways. Coffee and tea have traditionally been integrated into food, as well as shaken iced teas and cold-brews, as explained in the recent MENU Magazine article. With this item becoming more and more popular each and every day, we know how important it is to our industry as a whole. The incentive to drink and incorporate this item is there – and consumers will continue to demand and desire new and exciting ways to enhance the multisensory experience of coffee-drinking.

Coffee Mug 1

Recently, an interesting article was published regarding the psychology of coffee drinking. The study explored if the colour of the cup that you drink from matters. Apparently, it does.

The study came to be by chance. The author was at his local cafe when a barista told him that “when coffee is consumed from a white, ceramic mug, it tastes more bitter than when drunk from a clear, glass mug.” This claim launched an investigation into the psychological impact of cups and coffee.  With the amount that the beverage is consumed each and every day, you’d expect there to be some research on it, but surprisingly, nothing of this kind had been done before.

The Findings

According to author George H Van Doorn, brown may be negatively associated with sweetness, and associated with bitterness — so that cancels out brown mugs. Ostensibly then, coffee from a white mug would be more bitter than a clear, transparent vessel. 

Coffee Mug 1

There is a science behind this; the study dives into the perception of taste and our concepts of bitterness. If you consider complementary colours for your mugs, one could assume that a blue mug would work positively with the colours, and effectively make the natural brown “pop out.”

Ultimately, the colour of your mug does matter, psychologically. It’s all about the perceived tasted and flavour of the coffee as you’re drinking it. The bitterness, intensity and sweetness are affected when it’s poured into a cup that doesn’t jive with the colour brown. So, the next time that you purchase new mugs for your new cafe, or your barista grabs a colourful mug from the cupboard, consider the impact it will have on your coffee drinking experience — this subtle difference could mean the world to your customers, and make all the difference in creating and encouraging repeat business.

If you’re interested in reading the full study, check it out here.


Content Marketing Specialist at Restaurants Canada. For inquiries or guest submissions, contact