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How Different Materials Affect Your Taste Buds

How Different Materials Affect Your Taste Buds

The process in which we create our flatware is far from simple. With 45 meticulous steps of processing and finishing used for each individual piece of designer cutlery we make, we think it’s fair to say that attention to detail is not something that Studio William is lacking in.

We use the highest quality materials available for every product, starting with a sheet of ice-hardened 18/0 stainless steel: a choice goes beyond the flawless appearance of the completed tableware. The metal that we choose to use actually affects the way your food tastes.

It’s not just something magical about our flatware that alters your taste buds, this is the case for every piece of cutlery out there and the metal used by lesser quality manufacturers will not have a positive effect on your meal, unlike Studio William sets. The next time you’re getting ready to host a dinner party don’t forget to consider the taste of your flatware, just as you carefully select your wines to accompany your dining experience: it will make all the difference!


    The Science Behind the Taste

    Through the ages, the metal at the disposal of budding chefs was not conducive to a tasty meal. It took more than 6000 years and a breakthrough in 1913 by metallurgist Harry Brearley, for humankind to come up with an accessible and affordable material that did not have a negative impact on the flavour of food. That material was stainless steel.

    There are many aspects of the flatware you use that will alter the overall flavour of your meal (keep an eye on our blog pages for more on that), but the way in which metal changes the taste is something that many scientists and foodies have been exploring for some time. With an average of 100 billion atoms of the metal itself being ‘consumed’ with every mouthful, it’s no wonder that the material we choose to eat with affects how food tastes. The foul flavour of copper, bronze and iron are what led to the majority of people eating with their hands for thousands of years and also contributed to the development of chopsticks made using bone and wood. The taste of silver, used by wealthier families in later years, also produces a mild metallic taste that is far from pleasant.

    The affects all come down to the chemical reactivity of the metal in question and the taste the high or low levels of electrodes combined with food leaves in your mouth.

    In more recent times after three years of research, Dr Zoe Laughlin and Prof Mark Miodownik, co-directors of the Institute of Making at University College London, conducted a series of scientific experiments in the form of a ‘spoon tasting dinner’, serving a complex Indian dinner with an array of plated spoons to materials scientists, food psychologists and culinary luminaries alike, to find out exactly how different metals affected flavour and which yielded the most delicious and revolting results…


    Ditch the old silverware that you’ve got stored away for special occasions. This may have been the best available back in the day but we’re a new generation, born with stainless steel spoons in our mouths and our food is far more palatable for it.

    The findings from Laughlin and Miodownik’s culinary experiment are fascinating to say the least and we’re thrilled to be able to offer all Studio William customers fine flatware in beautiful designs that in no way alters the flavour of your dishes.

    Here is a brief run-down of the discoveries made:

    Copper & Zinc

    Both described as ‘bold and assertive’ but with a distinct metallic taste (and smell) with a foul, bitter end. Nice! You’re really tasting the metal with these materials above all others, as the acid in saliva and from food actually strips a little off the surface each time it is used.


    Despite being thought of by many as the elite flatware choice, silver spoons were found to actually dull flavours. Not something we look for on our gastro adventures…


    Gold spoons make for pretty great flavour – particularly when it comes to sweet things. As you might imagine, ice-cream eaten off of a golden spoon is a magical experience, but the price you pay for that pleasure…ouch!

    Stainless Steel

    The Studio William material of choice and for good reason – stainless steel flatware does not mar or conceal the taste of food in any way, making it the perfect and affordable metal for allowing fine ingredients and subtle flavours to shine.


    Oddly, a popular match for pistachio curry but otherwise not a great flavour to add into a meal. Tinny, funnily enough.

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