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Does coffee taste better with latte art? A neuroscientific perspective

Liwei Hsu (National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)
Yen-Jung Chen (Institute of Education, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan) (Graduate Institute of Hospitality Management, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 January 2021

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

384

Abstract

Purpose

Visual stimulation affects the taste of food and beverages. This study aimed to understand how latte art affects coffee consumption by collecting participants' brainwave data and their taste responses.

Design/methodology/approach

Seventy subjects participated in a two-stage experiment. Electroencephalography (EEG) was employed to measure brainwave activity. With an interval of one week, each stage involved coffee consumption with and without latte art. The responses to the taste of the coffee were also collected for analysis.

Findings

Significant differences were found in the participants' alpha and beta brainwave bands. When drinking coffee with latte art, the participants' alpha bands were significantly lower, whereas the beta bands were higher. These findings were supported by Bayesian statistics. A significant increase was found in the participants' taste of sweetness and acidity with latte art, and Bayesian statistics confirmed the results for sweetness although the evidence on the increase in acidity was anecdotal. No difference was found in the taste of bitterness.

Originality/value

This study highlights the effect of latte art on coffee consumption. The authors analysed the empirical evidence from this two-stage experimental study in the form of the participants' brainwave data and their responses to taste. This study's original contribution is that it explored the crossmodal effects of latte art on consumers' taste of coffee from a neuroscientific perspective. The results of this study can provide empirical evidence on how to effectively use latte art in practical business environments.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincerest appreciation to the reviewers' constructive suggestions and Miss Ivy Shih for her technical supports for this research.

Citation

Hsu, L. and Chen, Y.-J. (2021), "Does coffee taste better with latte art? A neuroscientific perspective", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 5, pp. 1931-1946. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2020-0612

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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