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How Different Materials Affect Your Coffee’s Taste

We taste thanks to our tongues’ sensory cells or receptors, which help us evaluate food and drinks and enjoy the dishes in front of us. And believe it or not, the type of material that we use in our drinkware and cutlery significantly affects the flavor. In other words, we may have different tastes, for instance, when drinking our coffee from glass, stainless steel, reinforced plastic, and ceramics.

In this article, 5-Minute Crafts explains how materials affect your coffee’s taste.

What types of materials there are

A “material” is a substance with different strengths and properties produced naturally or artificially to make objects; some examples are composites, ceramics, metals, polymers, etc. When picking the best one for your intended use, ask yourself if the material is durable, dishwasher safe, or if it can retain heat.

1. Glass

Glass, as a material, is also one of the best options for coffee cups and mugs because it doesn’t affect the coffee’s flavor. It’s recyclable and attractive but fragile. It’s better to keep your drink above 122°F (50°C), as you may not detect the flavors and aromas below. There are various types, like double-walled or tempered glass, which won’t break or shatter so quickly, regardless of how hot your drink is. Also, note that tempered glass cups and mugs are more expensive than ceramic, plastic, or steel cups.

When figuring out how to keep your drink warm or which material cools off quickly, it’s essential to know their thermal conductivities. Remember that high thermal conductivity means the liquid will cool off quickly.

  • Let’s find out which material cools off quickly. Imagine having a glass mug, whose thermal conductivity has a lower value than a ceramic mug. Based on its low thermal conductivity, the heat of the liquid doesn’t easily penetrate into the glass mug. Stainless steel will cool faster than ceramic and glass due to its higher thermal conductivity than ceramic and glass.

2. Stainless steel

Stainless steel is an easy-to-clean and stable metal alloy, which doesn’t keep the heat better than glass and ceramic because of its high thermal conductivity. It’s indestructible and recyclable. However, you may get a metallic flavor from your drink due to its porous structure it may get overtime. The acidity of your coffee may cause some microscopic toxic particles, such as nickel, to come out over time too. Remember that you can’t microwave your stainless steel materials or objects.

3. Plastic

Although heat-resistant plastics are heavily used in producing coffee cups, bottles, and mugs, they may have less durability than stainless steel as can crack or come apart due to overusing and washing. They may melt when under extreme heat too. Over time, they trap and spread unpleasant odors and flavors, causing your coffee to taste bad. They can also deliver some particles into your coffee, mainly when used for hot drinks. Therefore, they don’t go well with coffee.

4. Ceramic

Ceramic is considered the best option for hot drinks since it doesn’t change the taste of the coffee. It’s generally inexpensive, light, dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and leakproof. Moreover, ceramic cups can withstand high temperatures and retain heat better than glass.

  • Let’s find out which material keeps your coffee warmer for longer. The answer is ceramic. Ceramic has a low density and tiny pores, so the heat is retained within the mug or cup. To understand how long it can keep the drink warm, we need to look at the material’s heat or thermal capacity, which is the ability of a material to hold heat per unit volume. Therefore, based on its heat capacity, ceramic wins the warm drink award.

5. Paper

When you are on the go or in a hurry, you may opt for some coffee served in paper or styrofoam. Before doing that, keep in mind that paper or styrofoam cups can add their own flavor to your coffee’s taste. Also, when the paper cup gets wet, some of it may dissolve into your coffee, affecting the taste.

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