Are your tastebuds up to scratch for tasting wine?

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We have all come across it before, your tasting a new food or wine, you find it appealing, while your friend finds it disgusting. Why is that? And how does it happen?

Sure, we all have taste buds in our mouths but we all have different amounts, with different strengths. Therefore, food and wine tastes different to everyone and appeals in different ways.

There are 3 main types of tasters in the world: ‘supertasters’, ‘average tasters’ and ‘non-tasters’. If you have more than 30 taste buds in a space the size of a hole punch on your tongue then you are considered a supertaster. You’re most probably also a picky eater.  Women are over 2 times more likely to be supertasters than men.

Here is a simple test to see if you are 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 what kind of taster you are.

Supertaster: 30+ taste buds

If you are a supertaster, everything tastes intense, from sweet to salty and fats. A tell tale sign of a supertaster would be someone who hates bitter vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and kale. Despite its most brilliant sounding name, being a ‘supertaster’ may actually mean you’re less likely to enjoy bitter drinks such as bitter beers and high tannin full-bodied red wines. 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 – but just to be sure, you should eat your greens too.

Average Taster: 15-30 taste buds

Average tasters like bitter vegetables and probably enjoy earthy and savoury wines. This is the most common tasting range to fall into, so it could most probably 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.

Non-Taster below: 15 taste buds

That spicy dish doesn’t make your eyes water and You tend to lean towards rich foods, spicy foods and strongly flavored foods. This is because you don’t taste bitter the same way as others do. In fact, some non-tasters don’t taste it at all. Your experience with food and wine is much different than the other two types of tasters. I bet you’re not surprised that your friends can’t handle what you like to eat. Not to worry, if you love wine, you can still learn to taste better. The only thing you should watch out for is to eat more healthy foods, even if they’re boring.