If you’re a supertaster that means you have an ability to taste far greater than average. Everything tastes intense, which means you may be a picky eater or prefer bland foods. Supertasters are physically different than the average person. If you have more than 30 taste buds in the space of a standard hole punch (0.31 inches in diameter) on your tongue, then you qualify.
In that same area, a regular taster has 15-30 taste buds and a non-taster has 15 or less. Supertasters may have evolved from groups of people when our nomadic ancestors needed their sense of taste to detect if foods were safe to eat.
There are several ways to test if someone is a supertaster, such as taking online quiz or counting the number of taste buds in the area of a standard notebook hole. The best method is probably through the use of taste strip with Phenylthiocarbamide or PTC. Supertasters will instantly experience a bitter taste, medium tasters may take 10-20 seconds to detect bitterness, and non-tasters won’t taste anything.
Do Supertasters Make the Best Wine Tasters?
Supertasters are about 25% of the population, medium tasters make up about 50% with, and the rest (25%) are non-tasters. In the food industry as a general rule, bakers are non-tasters, chefs are medium-tasters and, sommeliers/wine critics are supertasters. Having the heightened senses of a supertaster may seem like an exciting skill, but it can also be a hassle, even for professional wine critics. A supertaster is less likely to enjoy bitter drinks such as bitter beers (like IPA) and high tannin full-bodied red wines. Not all supertasters are picky eaters, which just goes to show that taste bud genetics don’t completely determine eating behavior – it also has a lot to do with experience. Ultimately the three groups of tasters experience flavors differently, so it’s important to know how what works for you.
How to Become a Better Wine Taster
Unfortunately, you can’t become a supertaster because it’s determined by genetics. However, a regular taster can often detect the same flavors as a supertaster, but with less intensity. Over time a you can increase your ability to recognize and differentiate between flavors. Increase your exposure to different flavors and take your time with slow tastings. Pay attention to aroma, texture and how flavors gradually evolve in your mouth. As we get older, our overall ability to taste tends to diminish along with the number of taste buds. Even if you’re a non-taster, you can preserve your ability to taste by avoiding smoking or eating food at scalding hot temperatures.
Cultivating your own sense of taste can be a really rewarding experience. Here at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA, we can help you pick the wine, beer, or spirit that’s works perfectly with your taste. Stop by to talk to one of our expert staff members or try a new wine variety in our tasting room. We hope to see you soon!