We get it: you’ve guests, you’re unprepared and they bring a lovely, chilled bottle of Prosecco to share with you. Cue plastic glasses. While they are practical, you might be doing your bubbles a disfavour by serving them in this recipient, and not just because of the non-fancy feeling, as researchers have recently found out.
“It turns out the bubble formation process on styrofoam is completely different than on glass”, pointed out Kyle S. Spratt on Science Daily. Spratt is the leader of the study, titled “Champagne bubble acoustics and size distribution may provide details about wine quality”, in which they explored the role of bubble acoustics to determine a sparkling wine’s quality. The study was conducted along with Kevin M. Lee and Preston S. Wilson, from the Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas at Austin.
As glasses have an influence in the resonance of the fizz they contain, they discovered that “if you ever have to resort to drinking champagne out of a Styrofoam cup, the bubbles will be quite different.” Bubbles will stick to the sides of the cup and will get bigger as a result, offering a less refined experience to the taster.
While Styrofoam is probably the worst material, plastics in general are less than ideal. Andrea Sella, professor of inorganic chemistry at University College London, told the Independent that “using plastic glasses, for example, really isn’t so good because the bubbles actually stick quite strongly to the walls of the glass [and so are] bigger before they lift off.”
So, it’s not being posh for the sake of being posh, glasses do make your fizz feel and taste better. However, next time you have an unexpected bubbly in the run to the office’s Christmas party, you’ll be forgiving for getting the first cups you can find.
More information: researchgate.net