Skip the sugar – just listen to this song instead. That’s the message from Xin Cafe, China. But what’s the reasoning? And does it work? Find out.
Can Sound Make Coffee Taste Sweeter?
A University of Oxford study in 2014 found that high-pitched noises make food taste sweeter, while low-pitched noises can enhance bitterness. A 2010 study backs up the results, except they also found that umami was enhanced by low-pitched noises.
But what does this mean for cafés?
The sugar argument has a long, long history in specialty coffee. On the one hand, sugar affects the flavour profile of the coffee. On the other hand, we’re in the business of customer service. So while we might think good coffee tastes better without the white stuff, many baristas won’t mention it to consumers.
But could playing high-pitched music encourage people to step away from the sugar? And if it did, would it still be a success? After all, the consumers’ preferences haven’t changed, just their perception of the drink. And what about the consumers who aren’t heading to the sugar bowl, but would now be listening to “sweet” music anyway?
The Café Selling “Sweet” Music
But one café wasn’t fazed by these questions. A little ingenuity, combined with curious consumers, saw them selling a brand new product: a cup that will play you high-pitched music while you sip on sugarless coffee.
Sweet nothings, or the real deal? Check it out in this video from CDC China, and make your own mind up.
Please note: Perfect Daily Grind does not own the rights to these videos and cannot be held accountable for their content.
Want to read more articles like this? Sign up to our newsletter!