Cool!Medical Mysteries of Music

Can Music Make Your Coffee Taste Better? Why, Yes It Can. Try This Experiment.

I love my coffee–not to the point of being a snob, but I really do appreciate a good cuppa. I’ve experimented with different beans and blends and machinery, all in he pursuit of a perfect cup first thing in the morning. But here’s something that I’ve never thought of: applying the science of music.

It’s a well-established scientific fact that sound (including music) have an effect on the way we perceive taste. For example, the reason potato chips sound crispier when you much on them today than they did ten years ago is largely due to the work of a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University named Charles Spence. In 2004, he published “The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips,” which pretty much changed everything in the potato chip industry.

Continuing down that path, NY Mag discusses a podcast entitled “Why You Should Listen to Your Food” by Dan Pashman, created with the help of the aforementioned professor Spence.

Here’s the experiment. Brew yourself a cup of coffee and taste a sip, paying close attention to every nuance of its taste. Then click “play” on the following file and take another sip. Notice anything?

Hold that thought. Take another sip as you listen to this next clip.

Got that? If you’re normal, the first clip should have made your coffee taste a little more bitter. The second clip should have made it sweeter. You’ve just experienced what has been dubbed “sonic seasoning.”

To learn more, go here. If you run a restaurant or just want your dinner guests to think more highly of your cooking, there’s some science to be learned.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38170 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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