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Does Food Taste Different For Everyone?

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It is possible to test whether your taste buds (which derive from certain types of papillae) are different than your friends through a simple home experiment. Science states that not everybody has the same amount of papillae, which are the source of how we taste. This is can be due to many different factors such as eating habits, and even genetics. This can cause a vast array of differences in how each of us tastes our meals. 

The smallest factors can affect the taste when we eat. Even the type of equipment you use to cook your meal on can have an effect on the flavors of the end product. For example, when you experience how food tastes on an electric grill compared to a charcoal grill you will notice a difference. Some people can smell certain things more strongly than others, and this also holds true for the sense of tasting. 

does food taste the same to everyone

Do People Taste Things Differently?

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Without going as far as arguing that one person experiences a certain dish to be salty whereas another will view the same product as sweet, it is common for people to experience flavoring differently. For example, one person may have much more papillae than another.

These people are typically really sensitive to the slightest stimulations on their tongues. What may be a mild sensation for one can be simply too much flavor for another person to handle. This is why it is interesting for many people to see if they are the sensitive or not-so-sensitive person. However, it is possible that you are also somewhere in the middle

Number of Papillae

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Those who have taken a look at your tongue in the mirror before might have noticed that there are small little bumps scattered across its surface. These little bumps are known as papillae, which are what stimulate the tongue whenever you put a tasty product into your mouth. If your tongue is at one of the extreme levels of the spectrum, you might be able to take a glance at it and know which type of taster you are. 

Anybody who has a tongue with heightened tasting will find much more of these bumps on their tongues. However, this isn't necessarily an advantage over their counterparts with fewer papillae. People who have fewer papillae will also typically be able to handle their chicken wings extra spicy and be able to eat hot peppers without freaking out from a burning reaction. 

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How to Test Your Taste Buds

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Perhaps you already have a general idea of which tasting archetype you are after glancing at the above information. However, if you are still uncertain which group you are a part of, there are various ways to measure your tasting capabilities. With careful testing, you will easily figure out which type of taster you are. 

Look at Your Tongue

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You might be able to simply glance at your tongue if you are extremely sensitive to flavors and foods. If you notice that there a lot of small bumps, it is possible. People of this type tend to remark that foods like coffee and broccoli are rather bitter. These people are sometimes wrongly deemed by their peers as "picky eaters." 

People who don't see that many bumps and have a smoother tongue are the ones more likely to hold a high tolerance for spicy peppers. These people are the ones you see munching down massive amounts of peppers seemingly unable to experience a burning sensation. Typically, people of this archetype will have a tongue which has fewer bumps on the surface.

Try the Blue Dye Test

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However, a simple glance is probably not enough to really do a test similar to what you would have done in a science class. This is a great experiment for understanding your tasting type much more clearly. This is what you will need for this test:


  • Blue food coloring.
  • Paper towels (or cotton swabs).
  • Standard size metal ring from a 3-ring binder.
  • Mirror (or a personal assistant).
  • Optional: magnifying glass.


  1. Start by gathering your blue food coloring and the method you chose to applicate with (paper towel or cotton swab).
  2. Then, place the metal ring in the center of your tongue. The inside of this ring is where we will be counting your papillae. It is important to keep it stable in one place. 
  3. Place a few drops on the applicator and then spread it inside the ring.
  4. Let your tongue absorb the dye for a moment until you start to notice plenty of bumps in the center of the ring.
  5. If you have a magnifying glass, count the number of papillae.


After you totaled up your papillae count, you are now able to start and compare how your tongue compares with that of your friends. If there are 1 - 14 of them, you qualify into the non-tasting spicy food-loving category. People with 15 - 35 are average tasters. If you have more than 35 papillae, then you are someone who can experience each flavor in a special aspect. 

What All This Means

Although this is a simple test, it isn't to imply that certain groups of people are inferior or are in better health than others. In fact, it is normal for each of us to experience the world differently and have a different body. Some of us can smell things that others can't. We all have a talent or interest which others don't. 

When you consider the facts, it seems that all three different groups of tasters have both perks and downsides to falling into their given category. If you have more than 35 papillae, then you have both a gift and a curse. Although delicious foods may be heavenly to you, the bad ones will be hellish. 

The alleged "non-tasters" have the ability to visit countries like Mexico or India and enjoy the local cuisine more than those who would otherwise have to constantly ask for fewer peppers. People in the middle category with 15 - 35 papillae will be able to experience both a heightened ability to taste and the ability to indulge in foods that the highly-sensitive ones may find utterly disgusting. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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