If you’re a foodie, you might want to find out if you’re a supertaster. Because they have a greater number of taste receptors on their tongues, super tasters experience more intense flavours when they eat. Using food dye and counting them, you can determine how many taste receptors you have. If you’re of legal drinking age, swirling wine around your tongue will also increase their visibility. You could also take note of how you react to different flavours (though this is not a foolproof test). Only 25% of the world’s population are supertasters, but you could be one of them!
Method 1 Using Blue Food Dye
1. Apply three to four drops of blue food colouring to your tongue. Swirl the dye around on your tongue to ensure that it covers the entire top of your tongue. The food dye will make the small bumps (papillae) on the surface of your tongue stand out.
You can also use green food dye; however, avoid using red or pink food dye because they are too close to the colour of your tongue.
If you don’t have any food dye on hand (and are of legal drinking age), swirl some red wine in your mouth. Red wine contains acids and sugars that stimulate your tongue’s taste receptors.
2. Stick a hole-punched reinforcement sticker to your tongue. Stick out your tongue and place the hole-punch sticker on the front of your tongue. Because your tongue is wet, it may not stick, so place it on top and tilt your head to keep it in place.
If you don’t have a hole-punch reinforcement sticker, cut a small strip of lined paper into a small strip with one hole punched. Instead, place it on the front of your tongue.
3. To see the papillae more clearly, use a magnifying glass and a flashlight. Lean in front of the mirror and shine a flashlight on your tongue. Place the magnifying glass at an angle between your face and the mirror so that you can see your tongue reflected in it.
If you don’t have a magnifying glass, a magnifying mirror will suffice.
4. Count how many bumps there are inside the circular sticker. Count the number of bumps you see inside the circular sticker while keeping your tongue still. Regular tasters have 15 to 30 tastes, but if you have more than 30, you are a supertaster!
If you have a friend, family member, or roommate nearby, ask them to assist you in counting the bumps or to double-check your tally.
If you’re using a strip of paper and red wine, place it toward the back of your tongue (where you see larger lumps). You’re a supertaster if you have more than 8 lumps.
Method 2 Tasting Foods and Drinks
1. Take note if you tend to avoid naturally bitter foods and beverages. Bitterness is detected at the back of the tongue, where large papillae lumps are found. These lumps are abundant in supertasters, exacerbating bitterness. If you avoid these foods because they are too bitter to eat, you may be a supertaster. Supertasters avoid the following naturally bitter foods:
Non-sweetened alcoholic beverages (like gin and tonics)
Beer (IPAs, bitter pale-ales)
2. Examine green vegetables to see if they have a sour taste. Supertasters may find spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and collard greens to be overly bitter and unappealing. You might be a supertaster if you purposefully avoid these foods for that reason.
Keep in mind that simply avoiding these foods because you dislike them does not qualify you as a supertaster.
Consume the greens raw or cooked with little to no oil or seasoning to allow the natural flavour of each vegetable to shine through.
3. Experiment with spicy foods to see how you react. Because supertasters perceive flavours more intensely than regular tasters, spicy peppers will be extremely spicy—even painfully so. This is due to the fact that supertasters have more pain receptors on their tongue (in addition to more papillae).
If you avoid jalapeno, serrano, tabasco, cayenne, or hot sauce because they cause you pain, this could be a sign that you’re a supertaster.
If you enjoy the burn of spicy foods, you may still be a supertaster—you’ve simply trained yourself to enjoy the sensation.
4. Check to see if the cilantro tastes soapy. Cilantro tastes fresh and citrusy to most people. However, if you are a supertaster, it may taste soapy or metallic. To see how you react, eat fresh cilantro leaves or dried cilantro.
Some supertasters believe cilantro has a bitter flavour as well.
5. Take note if you regularly perceive foods to be over-seasoned. If you frequently judge food as being too salty, too peppery, or too spicy, you may have more taste receptors on your tongue than the average eater. You may appear to be a picky eater when, in fact, you could be a supertaster!
However, this isn’t a sure sign because it could simply be that you prefer foods with a light seasoning.
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