I am a Supertaster: paying taxes in Bittertown, USA

Indeed, I am a supertaster. Don’t be confused though, I am not a super taster – I’m not the Michael Jordan of tasting or something. No, I’m a supertaster. It’s a bad thing, mostly. To put it simply, a supertaster is one who has greater than average fungiform papillae on their tongue, and therefore a much lower tolerance to bitter tastes. Supertasters often find things like black coffee, green leafy vegetables, and hoppy beers unbearable. Women, Asians, Africans, and South Americans are more likely to be supertasters (so I’m big time in the minority here). Read all about it on Google, or check out Wikipedia’s info on it right here.

Yours truly finds all of these things bitter. I load up my coffee with cream and sugar. I wince when I drink a really strong IPA. This now explains why people have looked at me funny when I say I don’t like the taste of most vegetables.

So how does one find out for sure that they’re a super taster? I had read all sorts of home tests, like dropping blue food coloring on your tongue, and then counting the number of taste buds you see in a hole punch-sized area. Not very scientific. Finally I heard about a chemically treated paper test strip that proves it. It’s safe, it’s easy, it’s cheap…it’s available on Amazon. Clearly, I snapped these up (if anyone wants to try it, I might have 99 strips left). The “For use in medical genetics” was particularly enjoyable to read right before sticking a chemical in my mouth.

PTC test strips
PTC test strips

The day they were delivered, I dove right in. The test is incredibly easy. Take one strip, pop it in your mouth, get it wet with saliva, and wait to see if you taste anything. If you taste nothing at all, you’re a “nontaster” – one who tastes less than average. If you only notice a slight amount, I’m told, you’re normal. If it’s disgustingly bitter, well, guess what you are?

At first, I thought it just tasted like paper. Then the paper got wet and the chemical spread throughout my mouth. And onto my gums. And onto the inside of my cheeks. Welcome to Bittertown, USA. Ding ding ding! Supertaster. The good news is, for those of your worried about the taste, it took a few swishes of water to get rid of the taste.

For your blog reading entertainment, I was sure to have my phone ready for a mid-tasting experience reaction shot. I think you’ll enjoy the photo below. No need to thank me. Just go have a strong IPA for me, please. Now who needs 99 PTC test strips? Cheers.

Paying taxes in Bittertown, USA.
Paying taxes in Bittertown, USA.

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