I don't think it's the cup that changes the taste of coffee, but it's the emotion that the cup evokes.
If I don't like the cup - well, I don't like the cup and I don't want to drink coffee from it.
It's all in perception. Once I pretended to be in rage and smashed one of the cups that did not even belong to me - but later I regretted it (maybe because I am an angry or aggressive type).
I would choose a cup and make it as a present and then end up using it myself for years.
My tastes in cup design are very consistent, but my mother likes to change them every so often. My father probably could not care less, but the important thing is to have coffee fill the cup almost to the rim (and then he spills it, of course!, carrying it to his desk). I guess leaving a reasonable room before reaching the room would spoil his senses.
I think it is the sense of beauty we are talking about. If you went hungry for 30 days and had no coffee whatsoever, not a drop in sight, then maybe you would not care as much about the cup.
Aesthetics is a luxury and aren't we lucky that we have this problem of selecting what to drink from?
I think it's an excellent question!
I even feel poetic inspiration to write about my cup of coffee!!!