The effects of noise control in coffee tasting experiences
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionFood Quality and Preference, 2020, Volume 86, (December), 104020 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104020
The present research investigates the general effect of auditory noise control in individual’s eating and drinking experiences. In particular, the study applied passive vs active commercial headphone noise control techniques to an urban drinking situation. Here, each participant drank twice the same coffee while exposed to a louder (~85 dBA) vs less loud (−20 dBs) version of the same background noise of a food court in busy hours. Note that by loud, louder, and less loud, we are referring to differences in the sound level of the noise. Results suggest that most consumers tend to be less sensitive to specific sensory and hedonic attributes of the coffee under louder noise (sweetness, bitterness, acidity, flavor/aroma intensity, flavor-liking, sound-liking, flavor-sound-matching), and less willing to pay and purchase the coffee, relative to less loud sounds. This was more evident concerning the perceived bitterness and aroma intensity of the coffee. The effects reported are mainly attributed to the differences in noise level during taste, and discussed based on theory on crossmodal correspondences, and attention (e.g., louder noise may diminish the ability to attend to specific elements of the experience). When thinking of public health, for example, these results suggest that differences in urban noise level may moderate behavior during food/drink situations (e.g., potentially modulating sugar intake).