How important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups?

Pavel Corena
-
September 30, 2022
How important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups

The specialty coffee sector can be fiercely competitive, and roasters need to adapt swiftly to cater to consumers’ evolving preferences. 

In recent years, takeaway options have surged in popularity. This has allowed roasters and coffee shop owners to improve revenue and accessibility, and cater to the on-the-go-lifestyle of modern consumers. 

Therefore, it has never been more important to pay attention to the details of your takeaway service. One aspect that is both ergonomically and aesthetically important is the humble takeaway coffee cup.

When designing takeaway cups, you will have to determine the colour, size, and design. Additionally, as sustainable materials have become more accessible, you will have to decide which is best for your cups: styrofoam, kraft paper, or recyclable plastic. 

Some studies have shown various factors in the design of takeaway cups can influence consumer perceptions on coffee flavour.

Therefore, the texture of your takeaway cup is essential, as it can influence how consumers perceive your coffee, and in turn, your brand. 

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An image of two colour, custom-printed takeaway coffee cups in an article on how important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups
The colour of your coffee cup may alter a consumers perception of sweetness and acidity.

Factors that may affect the flavour of coffee in takeaway cups

Several studies have shown how colour can influence how people feel, as well as affect their purchasing decisions.

Similarly, the colour of your takeaway coffee cup can alter how a consumer perceives the flavour of the coffee. 

According to a study published by the Flavour Journal, the colour of a cup can significantly affect the drinker’s experience of everything from flavour and acidity to body and sweetness.

Specialty coffees have a variety of flavour profiles, from rich and chocolatey to bright and acidic. 

On the Coffee Flavour Wheel, these flavours can be identified by a specific colour: citric profiles are often linked to orange or yellow, while pink connotes florals. 

Therefore, choosing the correct colour for your takeaway cups is an essential part of meeting consumer flavour expectations.

Another element that is becoming increasingly important is the texture of your takeaway cups. 

Recent studies have shown the texture can influence consumers’ perceptions of coffee in terms of mouthfeel, and may affect aftertaste. 

In 2020, a group of 231 participants performed a test, rating specialty coffee from both rough and smooth textured cups. 

The participants were a mix of Q-graders and daily coffee consumers. The Q-graders rated the coffee as significantly more acidic when sampled from the rough cup as opposed to the smooth.

On the other hand, the daily consumers perceived the coffee as significantly sweeter when tasted from the when tasted from the smooth cup, as opposed to the rough. 

Notably, groups found the aftertaste to be dryer when sampling from the rough cup, while the perception of body was not significantly affected by the experiment. 

The results suggest roughly textured materials tend to increase the perception of acidity, while smooth tends to increase sweetness. 

Roasters and coffee shop owners should consider the results of both studies when designing innovative exterior and interior elements for coffee cups. More so, it is important to create cups that help convey the inherent qualities of the coffee.

An image of a ripple wall takeaway coffee cup in an article on how important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups
Ripple wall takeaway cups are often mistaken for an aesthetic design choice instead of a functional feature. 

What are the different types and texture of takeaway cups?

Several takeaway cup options are available on the market today. 

From low cost styrofoam (polystyrene) and plastic cups, to more eco-friendly options such as kraft paper cups, each has distinct physical properties that offer unique coffee drinking experiences.

For years, plastic and styrofoam dominated the market, as they are lightweight, durable, cheap, and often smooth to the touch. However, they wreak havoc on the environment as, over time, they break down into microplastics. 

An image of two takeaway coffee cups, one smooth, one with a textured cup sleeve in an article about how important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups
Temperature plays an essential role in how consumers perceive certain flavour notes within coffee.

Takeaway cups made from plastic and styrofoam may not only make the coffee taste stale but also release toxic chemicals into the beverage when exposed to high heat. 

Additionally, plastic and styrofoam are more likely to absorb strong flavours and odours, preventing consumers from experiencing the full aromatics of the coffee

Equally important is how the material retains the temperature of the coffee. Temperature plays an essential role in how consumers perceive certain flavour notes within coffee. 

While ceramic may conduct heat better than plastic, it is unfeasible to hand out ceramic takeaway cups. 

Takeaway cups made from recyclable plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) and kraft paper have become popular options for many roasters and coffee shops.

Kraft paper is sustainable and environmentally friendly as it can be recycled easily, and is fully compostable when paired with a PLA lining. 

Furthermore, takeaway cups made from kraft paper can be made to have a single or double wall. A double wall takeaway cup is more effective in maintaining the temperature of the coffee, and boasts a smooth surface.

More so, you can opt for a ripple walled cup. While ripple wall takeaway cups are often mistaken for an aesthetic design choice instead of a functional feature, they help preserve a coffee’s temperature for longer, and by extension, ensure customers enjoy it as intended. 

Ripple wall takeaway cups consist of a standard paper cup with an outer layer made from corrugated cardboard. 

The ripple on the cup can run vertically, horizontally, or in an s-shape, and the surface is easy to brand and print on.  More so, its texture is smooth but slightly ribbed, which can provide a calming, almost soothing drinking experience. 

An image of various textured takeaway coffee cups in an article about how important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups
Ensure your printing partner is able to replicate your branding across a variety of substrates.

What to consider when choosing material for takeaway coffees?

Choosing the right material for your takeaway cups is an essential part of your overall company strategy. 

Investing in the design, manufacture, and branding of takeaway cups can be costly, which is why you should ensure it will benefit your business in the future. 

Partnering with a printing supplier that can accurately recreate your branding on a variety of substrates is essential. Custom-printing your logo on takeaway cups provides you with a form of free advertising, as consumers will carry the cups with them.

Additionally, offering takeaway coffee cups made from recyclable or sustainable materials will appeal to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers

For instance, should you choose to use kraft paper, ensure the cups are made using FSC-certified wood pulp. This means they contribute to the sustainable management of forests.

An image of a ripple wall kraft paper takeaway coffee cup in an article on how important is the texture of takeaway coffee cups
If you choose to use kraft paper, ensure the cups are made using FSC-certified wood pulp.

Essentially, The design of takeaway cups should be optimised to complement the flavour characteristics that a particular establishment favours. 

MTPak Coffee can provide you with sustainable, custom-printed coffee cups made from sustainable materials, such as kraft paper, or PET, with a PLA lining. In addition to being strong, waterproof, lightweight, and 100% compostable, our cups can be designed to feature the texture you need to highlight the flavours of your coffee offerings. 

Additionally, we can custom-print takeaway coffee cups to your specifications using digital printing or sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOC) and highly resistant to abrasion, water, and heat.

Our range of cups is available in three different sizes: 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz, and we offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options. This means you can order as few as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information on sustainable, custom-printed takeaway coffee cups, contact our team. 

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Pavel Corena
Pavel Corena

Pavel is a writer for MTPak Coffee and is very passionate about his craft.

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