A new study has found that people think a coffee drink with latte art is worth 13 percent more than one without—even though they don’t necessarily like one drink better than the other. True, you’d pay more for a Picasso than you would for a blank canvas, but you don’t plan on eating Guernica moments after you buy it.
The revelation comes from a study called “Latte Art Influences both the Expected and Rated Value of Milk-Based Coffee Drink” and, though I might be mistaken, I am pretty sure that means a bunch of researchers literally went out for coffee.
In one experiment, researchers gave 23 people in a coffee shop either a regular latte or one with latte art. Participants were then asked to rate the intensity of the drink and how much they liked it, as well as how much they would expect to pay for such a drink. As the study states, “Even though the perceived likability of the café latté did not differ as a function of the presence versus absence of latté art, the participants were willing to pay significantly more for the drink in the former case.” To clarify, despite not liking their drinks any better, the latte art people would still pay more for them—13 percent, to be exact.
The researchers hypothesize that it’s possible this result might stem from the belief that a latte art drink required more effort or skill to make, but, more likely, people are simply willing to pay more for aesthetically pleasing things.