Metal straws for better drinks?
Summer is the perfect time to help your customers cool down with icy drinks, but it turns out our enjoyment of these treats is highly affected by temperature. According to a study done by researchers at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, our tongues are wired to taste different flavors at different temperatures. Serve a cold drink below optimal temperature, and you risk it tasting either overly sweet or unpleasantly bitter.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, taking small extra steps to preserve a beverage's temperature can make a big difference in taste. Chilling a glass, choosing the right vessel for your drinks, and serving a drink in easily consumable portions can all help, but one of the easiest switches to make is changing out the straw. Experiments show that plastic is far less conductive than metal, which means that drawing a cold drink through a plastic straw can actually warm it up, resulting in incremental loss of flavor. Replacing a disposable straw with a reusable metal one not only reduces waste, but preserves the temperature of the drink. Because of this high conductivity, metal straws do not even need to be pre-chilled to be effective in this way; simply having cold liquid drawn through it will cool the straw.
Interestingly, temperature preservation is not the only benefit of serving drinks with metal straws. A study published by Flavour Journal described what happened when subjects were presented with identical food items served with either metal or plastic tableware. Although the meals were the same in every way, items served with metal tableware were consistently judged as tasting better than those served with plastic. It may have been that, because metal is a higher quality material, this perception changed the way subjects thought of their food. Researchers also suggested that something about the quality or texture of metal improved the experience. Although there is still more research to be done on why exactly this should be so, it is clear that metal had a positive effect on taste.
So, whether you're trying to preserve the environment or just the temperature of your drinks, metal straws have clear benefits over plastic. If you're interested in discussing how your business could make the switch, contact us.