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Tea is one of the world's most widely and frequently consumed beverages. What is more, tea is a drink that, unlike many others, is purported to have a number of health benefits as well. However, to date, there has been surprisingly little published research concerning the crossmodal associations that people have with tea beverages, specifically regarding tea's distinctive hue. In two experiments, we assessed the beverage colors that Chinese tea drinkers associate with different types of tea tasted while blindfolded. The results revealed that the color names that came to our naïve assessors' minds typically did not match the color names by which the tea is defined (e.g., red or green), or the actual color of the tea that they had just tasted. As such, the tea drinkers' expectations very often were different from the actual color of the beverage that they happened to taste. Practical Applications: Tea is often defined by a color name, and the extent to which that name matches the tea drinker's experience is investigated in the present study. Our results provide evidence concerning the crossmodal flavor-color correspondences that may exist for tea. These findings will be of interest to those sensory scientists who are interested in the flavor-color associations of beverages. Considering the global popularity, the purported health benefits and the emergence of high-end tea markets, the findings of the present study are intriguing enough to call for further research on the multisensory marketing of tea in order to align tea drinkers' expectations with their experiences. These findings also have implications for the international marketing of tea, especially for those who are interested in breaking into the Chinese tea market and potentially for those who are interested in promoting Chinese tea in new markets. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Sensory Studies

Publication Date





285 - 293