The Right Cup looks too good to be true. It’s a cup that wafts flavor aromas into your nose as you drink plain water, fooling you into thinking you’re actually downing a sugary beverage.
The design is dead simple. It’s a plastic cup with a liner that emits fruity aromas straight from its plastic. You don’t need to add any other substances. You just fill up the cup and drink.
It works–if indeed it does work (we haven’t tried it)–because we taste flavor through our noses. Our tongues are only receptive to five tastes: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami. Everything else we taste is actually processed by the nose, which is an expert in detecting aroma compounds. This is why we can’t taste anything when we have a cold.
The Right Cup takes advantage of this, exploiting a trick that our brains already perform whenever we eat or drink–combining taste and aroma into one sense of flavor. What you won’t get is the hit of sweetness you’d experience with real sugar on your tongue, or the bitter sting of tonic in a good G&T. But for folks who are hooked on artificially flavored beverages, this looks like just the ticket.
The people behind The Right Cup say that the effect grows stronger as you get used to it, likely similar to the way Diet Coke only tastes foul the first few times you force it down, according to PSFK. If it works, then it could be a fantastic way to combat obesity and many other health problems caused by too many sugary beverages.
Environmentally, it’s not so hot. You need to replace the cup every six months, after the aromas wear off. Then again, two cups a year is better than a few bottles or cans of soda every day. Viewed this way, the price isn’t so bad either. The cups will cost $35 a pop and come in lemon lime, orange, mixed berry, and apple. The crowdfunding campaign should start soon.