The results of the study now give a scientific explanation of why some enjoy a piece of dark chocolate with their coffee. Its bitterness is minimized and the sweetness is increased.
The 156 participants in the study had their sense of smell and taste-tested before and after drinking coffee. The researchers found no changes in their sense of smell, but they found that the sense of taste was affected.
“When people were tested after drinking coffee, they became more sensitive to sweetness and less sensitive to bitterness,” said associate professor at Aarhus University Alexander Wieck Fjældstad, who was involved in the study. “It’s probably some of the bitter substances in the coffee that create this effect.”
The same result found when the researchers repeated the experiment using decaffeinated coffee. This is how they ruled out the possibility that caffeine in the coffee could be a factor.
According to the researcher, the study sheds some light on a new aspect of our knowledge about our senses of smell and taste.
“We already know that our senses have an effect on each other, but it’s a surprise that our registration of sweetness and bitterness is so easily influenced” he explains. “Improved knowledge can potentially be utilized to reduce sugar and calories in our food, which would be beneficial for a number of groups, including those who are overweight and diabetes patients,”