How to Tell if You're a Supertaster (test)

Are you a Supertaster with wine?

If you have more than 30 taste buds in a space the size of a hole punch on your tongue then you are a supertaster. You also might be a picky eater. Learn what a supertaster is and see if you are one. If you’re not, don’t worry, you can still learn to be great at tasting wine.

Women are over 2 times more likely to be supertasters than men

There are 3 types of tasters in the world:

  • “Supertaster”
  • “Average Taster”
  • “Non-Taster”

A simple test to see if you’re a supertaster

Punch a standard notebook hole into a clean piece of plastic or wax paper and put it on the front part of your tongue. Then, count the bigger taste buds—called papilla. It’s actually pretty tricky to spot, so if you want to be more accurate, be sure to drink some red wine beforehand to stain your tongue. Count how many you have and see below for what kind of taster you are. 
Don’t worry if you’re not a supertaster, there’s help below!

Supertaster 30+ taste buds

Everything tastes intense: from salty, sweet, sour, the sensation of fat and bitter. The classic ’tell’ to a supertaster is someone who hates bitter vegetables such as brussels sprouts or kale. Despite its stupendous sounding name, being a ‘supertaster’ may actually mean you’re less likely to enjoy bitter drinks such as bitter beers (like IPA) and high tannin full-bodied red wines (You’re a Pinot Noir drinker vs. a Nebbiolo drinker). It also means that you tend to eat bland foods over super rich foods that taste too ‘oily’. You may be a picky eater, but being a Supertaster is actually pretty good: studies by researcher Linda Bartoshuk at Yale University have shown that supertasters are less likely to be obese than non-tasters — just be sure to eat your leafy greens.

Average Taster 15-30 taste buds

You like bitter vegetables and you probably enjoy earthy and savory wines. About 50% of people tested in the US were average tasters, so this could be you. An average taster can still taste the same bitter flavors that a supertaster tastes, but they don’t cause you to wince. Because of this, you’re a try-anything taster. Your ability to taste better can be improved with a few skills.

Video

Warnings

  • Brush your teeth as soon as possible after doing the test with blue food dye. Food dyes will stain your teeth for about 2 hours without brushing.

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You Might be More Likely to be a Supertaster if

Other factors affecting whether someone is a supertaster include sex (woman are more commonly “tasters”) and race (Africans and Asians are more commonly “tasters” compared to Caucasians). Research has approximated that the adult population is made up of approximately 25% nontasters, 50% moderate tasters and 25% supertasters.

Being a supertaster can be a burden, as they are pickier eaters, experience more intense oral sensations and burn, dislike alcoholic beverages, etc. Interestingly, supertasters are also more sensitive to highly sweet and fatty foods. Statistically, supertasters have lower BMI measures than nontasters.

How To Test If You Are A Supertaster?

Extra taste buds found on supertasters can be identified using the following methods:

  • Apply blue stain to the anterior portion of the tongue, take pictures and count the fungiform papillae in the specific area where they occur affecting taste.
  • Administer aqueous solutions of PTC or PROP at different concentrations. The participants will taste solutions of different concentrations separated by a sip of water.

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Resources:

Duffy, V.B. and Bartoshuk, L.M. “Food Acceptance and Genetic Variation in Taste.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 100.6 (2000): 647-655. Web. 7 Jul 2016.

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