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© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.. The present study investigated whether consumers' expectations and perceptions concerning milk-based coffee drinks would be influenced by: (1) the presence/absence of latté art on the froth of the coffee, and (2) shape-taste symbolism (i.e., angular versus rounded shapes presented on the froth). An online survey conducted using photographs of cups of coffee revealed that the presence of latté art did indeed influence people's expectations concerning the value of the drink. Follow-up research revealed that people were willing to pay more for a milk-based coffee drink that had latté art as compared to a similar drink served without art. In a third experiment, an online survey revealed that an angular shape, relative to a more rounded shape, influenced people's expectations concerning the likability, bitterness and quality of the drink. A final experiment (Experiment 4) revealed that shape influenced people's perception of the quality and estimated price of the coffee. Taken together, the various results reported here demonstrate that the presence of latté art influences how much people expect, and are willing, to pay for a café latté. As such, adding art to, and the type of visual design on, a customer's drink should be considered by those serving café latté as an effective means of increasing value.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Sensory Studies

Publication Date





305 - 315