Supertaster, regular taster, or nontaster?

33 Replies
Dinosara said

I am pretty much a normal taster with a super sensativity certain kinds of bitterness. I dislike coffee, strong black teas, really hoppy beer, etc, but I don’t really dislike any foods. With my situation, I actually have more of a problem with black teas than green or white.

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I am a normal taster, with a preference toward intensely flavored things – tea being no exception. I prefer strong blacks, darker oolongs, and more vegetal greens. Though I can and do white teas, they are usually just too light for me.

I never thought about it before, either, but the things I don’t like (melons, cucumber) tend to be foods I perceive as bland.

Interesting topic!

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DC said

Well since I quit smoking 3 years ago, my palates have been more sensitive, cut down on my chili and spices…..
Having said that, my preferences are always towards stronger brews, that’s why the wuyi oolongs are my favorite. White tea usually don’t excite me but then again it is seasonal!
Ask me again in 3 mths time!

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Camiah said

Nontaster. I love bitter foods, they don’t seem that bitter to me. However, there is a limit of bitterness that even I can’t tolerate: Starbucks plain black coffee. Even to a nontaster, it is disgusting.

Being a nontaster is relatively frustrating as a tea drinker. I miss a lot of the flavor nuances (and often times bold flavors) that other people get. I’m always so excited when I pick up on something in a tea.

As for teas? I like all kinds.

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Uniquity said

I assume I’m a regular taster. I hate coffee, dark chocolate, licorice or teas when they go bitter. But I love cabbage, sprouts, etc. Black teas are my fave, I enjoy a lot of flavoured teas and oolongs are pretty cool. I don’t really like green tea (I frequently find it bitter – maybe I just need to learn to steep it right?) and white tea is expensive and bland in my world. : )

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Ninavampi said

I also did the paper strip test to determine what sort of taster I am. Considering I had never tasted something as awful as that tiny piece of paper in my entire life, I have no doubt that I am surely a super taster. Strangely, I love broccoli and brussel sprouts! I can’t stand spinach or asparagus and I like my coffee sweet. : )

That being said, as a supertaster, my favorite unflavored is all the way oolong, though I do have a soft spot for Sencha, Matcha, and some black teas.

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I’m not completely sure if I have enough taste buds to technically qualify as a supertaster. If I do, it’s probably rather borderline – odd, since I largely fit the profile. I’m the only person I know who has cried in physical pain over a bitter taste.

I adore spinach (oddly enough!), and tolerate asparagus and sprouts, but I absolutely despise broccoli (which, as a full-grown adult, I reserve the right to refuse to eat if I can taste it), dark chocolate, coffee that isn’t heavily flavoured, grapefruit, and I’m hardly a fan of most alcohol. I would consider myself to have a sweet tooth, but I find it easily overwhelming, and turn it down when it’s “too much” – I was considered the “weird kid” in my family in this. (“He barely likes chocolate or candy!”)

People tell me fat on meat doesn’t have a taste. Those people are wrong. It has a taste – a disgusting one. Not to mention the awful texture – people mention the bitterness-supertasters connection all the time, but leave out the extreme sensitivity to food texture, which often informs my diet more than taste.

So. Tea. I lean toward blacks and rooibos so far. My first experience with green tea was, unfortunately for me, matcha, which nearly put me off green tea forever…! Since I discovered loose leaf I have pretty much drank flavoured tea exclusively. I just recently bought some straight blacks, and I’m excited to try them, but…nervous about it. I would really like to learn to drink tea clear (seems like it would open up my brewing options), but I don’t have the highest hopes. I have low expectations for my ability to like straight greens, which seems a shame.

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Dazaii said

Oh, I didn’t know there are different levels of how much a person can taste…..but by the sounds of it I think I’m a supertaster. I’ve always found bitter vegetables, straight coffee, licorice, etc…super nasty. I thought it was a childhood thing, that I would grow out of it.
Well, I do enjoy more complex flavours in my food now, but I still can’t stand grapefruits without buckets of sugar. And almost all vegetables must have some sort of creamy or cheese sauce to make them acceptable. As for coffee, when made correctly it shouldn’t taste overly bitter anyways. But I still add loads of cream and sugar. Same with dark chocolate. I only eat it if it’s my awesome imports from Germany. And fat on meat….UGH! It’s just gross to look at. I avoid it whenever possible, so I don’t really remember what it tastes like. I also don’t like too much sour or when fruits are overly tart.
So when it comes to my tea…..it’s the same as coffee. When made right, it shouldn’t be sickly bitter. I think that’s why a lot of people think they don’t like tea; they’ve just never had it done right.

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jacinta said

I think I’m a non-taster, but I’m not really sure. I can’t stand coffee, but I’m crazy for really dark chocolate and spinach. I quite like brussel sprouts and kale, as well.

I enjoy drinking herbal teas, and chai. Oh, and matcha.
Actually, I’ll drink anything and enjoy it, except for floral blends. To me, they seem somewhat sickly.

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As with most things, I don’t fit in any of the categories. I also think the supertaster premise and scale are lousy science, and don’t include how we perceive tastes and smells together (I know I am in the minority here!). I happen to love all veggies, green tea (as well as all others), dark chocolate, coffee, and my taste buds are extremely sensitive. I don’t smoke or eat meat, and the only taste that really bothers me much is cilantro — of which I am one of the 2% genetic group that perceive it as “plastic.”
After I lost most of my hearing, my sense of smell did become very sensitive, and it changed my vision as well. Now I have mild synesthesia where I actually associate colors with certain numbers, letters, concepts and tastes. :)

Wonks said

Well the science is what the destiny your fungiform papillae are. In a 4mm diameter there will be a certain number of papillae. Generally speaking, if you have over 25 papillae in the 4mm diameter then you are a supertaster- thus you can detect things like PROP more easily. If you have 5 or under you’re a non-taster (of which fit your description of). If I remember right the average is 15 for a normal taster.

Like most things organic, it’s not a binary thing, so it’s more of a gradient from non-taster to supertaster. Being a non-taster doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have good taste, it just means you can’t detect the bitterness, sourness, or sweetness as well as a regular taster, and being a supertaster doesn’t mean you have better taste, it just means you taste things in neon (so to speak). As far as how someone perceives smell, taste, or sight is a completely different thing altogether, and people can love or hate things that others with the exact same characteristics hate and love. Like two individual with 20/20 vision like different colors- who’s to say their brain doesn’t interpret the raw data differently?

I find it all extraordinary, and the origins of my curiosity were more or less which “taster” prefers which teas. Non-tasters seem to like green teas, but that’s not to say that supertaster and regular tasters don’t like them too, however the consensus so far has leaned towards super-tasters don’t seem to like green teas as much as say blacks and oolongs.

Also, it sucks on the cilantro thing… it’s pretty much the only green thing that I eat and i love it lol.

I think the tasters concept is a broad one, and the general characteristics of each group are just that – general and common, but by no means universal. Supertasters, for example, are supposed to be very sensitive to food temperature. Check, I definitely am (everyone who’s seen me eat notices this). Thus, supertasters supposedly tend to prefer food tepid. Good god, no, my food must be HOT or COLD, nothing in between.

Also, I’m among the people who find cilantro to taste like metallic soap/lotion and smell like mold. I lovelovelove it, and always ask for extra at Mexican places. (No, I don’t like the taste of actual soap or lotion. I don’t know either.)

I think it is perfectly possibly for someone to be considered a “supertaster” and love all things bitter. It’s just far less common.

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