Brain and Body

Test Your Flavor Know-How and Find out If You're A "Supertaster"

February 18, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

ice cream cone

If you are a picky eater, you might be a supertaster!

Flavor is influenced by more than just our taste buds, in fact, 80 percent of flavor comes from smell.  But have you ever noticed how some people tend to be picky eaters?  Well, they could just be stubborn… but they might be supertasters!

To supertasters, the flavors of food are much stronger, and to determine whether or not you or someone you know is a supertaster, you can find out by investigating the tongue!  Here’s how:

First, wash your hands.  Then open your mouth and place a drop of blue food coloring on the tip of your tongue, take a mouthful of water, swish it around and then spit it out.  Now get your tongue relatively dry by swallowing a few times and take a look at the tongue to make sure the dye has stained all of it except the papillae — small, cup-shaped projections that cover the tongue and pick up taste.

SEE ALSO: Everything That “Tastes” Distinctive About Food Isn’t Taste At All

Now, place a paper-hole reinforcer on the tip of your tongue in the area that has been dyed. (You can cut your own ring out of wax paper if you don’t have reinforcers.) Using a magnifying glass under a bright light, count the number of papillae within the circle — but only count the larger bumps to save time.

If you counted more than 30 papillae in this region, you are considered a supertaster!  Only 25 to 30 percent of people around the world are considered supertasters, so, lucky you!  If you have 15 to 30 papillae you are considered an average taster, and less than 15 papillae and you are considered a non-taster.

Now that you know what kind of taster you are, let’s test your flavor know-how.


1. Eating strawberry mousse off a white plate rather than a black one makes the food taste ______.

  1. 10 percent blander
  2. 10 percent sweeter
  3. 15 percent less like strawberry
  4. 15 percent more intense


2. What happens to the taste of wine after you eat cheese?

  1. It tastes more expensive
  2. You can’t taste it anymore
  3. It tends to taste like feet
  4. It begins to taste slightly sparkling


3. Drinking water from a blue glass rather than a yellow glass makes the drink taste _______.

  1. Sweeter
  2. More refreshing
  3. More thirst quenching
  4. Colder


4. Which part of the body does not contain taste receptors?

  1. Tongue
  2. Lungs
  3. Fingertips
  4. Testicles


5. A bitter, herb-like smell and taste in wine, sometimes described as being like green peppers, can be caused by ______.

  1. The tannins in the wine
  2. Green peppers growing near the vineyard
  3. Acid rain caused by acidic soil in the region
  4. Ladybugs getting bundled in with the harvest


6. Body fluids, in the absence of gravity, travel up instead of down.  This can cause swelling which blocks the sinuses, and like a bad head cold, limits astronauts’ sense of smell and therefore taste.  What is the effect called?

  1. The Snoopy effect
  2. The Peanuts effect
  3. The Charlie Brown effect
  4. The Schulz effect


Scroll down for the answers!

SEE ALSO: The Pseudoscience Quiz: Can You Distinguish Common Science Myths from Fact?


  1. d
  2. b
  3. b and c
  4. c
  5. d
  6. c

So, how did you do?

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