Hong Kong-based Mint Urban Technologies has introduced an aromatic coffee lid for take-away cups which it claims improves the taste of coffee when drinking through the lid. The aroma is not "mint," as the company's ill-chosen name suggests, but an aromatic material formulated to enhance the bouquet of the coffee. The secret of the new Aroma Lid is in the plastic, according to Mint's Marc Miller. "Coffee lids block the aroma coming from the coffee," says Miller. "Because taste is 95 percent smell, the lids are stopping us from experiencing the full taste of our favorite morning brew." If the Aroma Lid can indeed enhance the taste of coffee, it could be a significant product - the take-away coffee industry uses 100 billion lids every year.

The idea behind the Aroma Lid is that original coffee taste and smell can be preserved by adding a second lid element to the common coffee lid design; the second element consisting of aromatic material that can enhance, rather than detract, from the original smell.

"Premium Coffee is judged by its aroma", says Miller. "Coffee consists of 800 distinct flavors and not unlike fine wine, has a "nose" or "bouquet". Certain notes are more prized than others and the Aroma Lid only uses these finer notes to enhance the taste."

Mint Urban firmly believes that coffee doesn't taste as good when consumed through the typical coffee lid. "Heat from the coffee heats the plastic in a standard lid, and a plastic fragrance is emitted," according to Mint's Mike Newcomb. "This odor, however subtle, gives coffee a 'plastic aftertaste' that can compromise the taste of an otherwise excellent cup of coffee."

Furthermore, the heat of the coffee, traveling through the drinking spout, heats up the plastic again, causing a distinct fragrance of plastic.

"The aroma we use is very light" says Miller. "We only need it to be very subtle in order for the brain receptors to recognize the enhanced aroma. The bottom line is that the Aroma Lid will make coffee taste better than any other coffee lid on the market."

Mint is offering the new aromatic double-lids in two ways - as generic, non-branded lids, and in brand-customizable form for companies wishing to enhance and promote their existing product names without changing anything else.