How to know that you are a superdustor

Most people can be divided into three categories according to taste sensitivity: under-tasters, tasters and super-tasters, approximately in the proportion of 25:50:25. There are also a small number (<1%) of people in the super-tasting category. Superstasters are often women, in addition, people of European descent are rarely superstudgers. So what is a super-taster? It may seem to you that such a person is much more interesting to eat and drink - but in fact the opposite is true. Since supertasters feel the taste stronger than ordinary people, the impact of different tastes, determined by the language of the supertaster, is enhanced compared to other people. And super-super-tasters have an even harder time. This is an excellent example of the fact that "more does not mean better."

The easiest way to describe the difference in the categories of taste perception is by taking one of my favorite beverages to taste - beer - and explaining how each of the categories of people react to this drink. The Master Brewers Association of the Americas has a special advisory flavor wheel that helps its members determine the taste of beer. This wheel was created by the co-author of the book Sensory Evaluation Techniques, first published in 1970, and has already survived five editions. Morten Meilgaard, a professor of sense and measurement, created a taste wheel to quantify beer tasting.

The taste wheel is quite complex, and has undergone many changes since Meilgaard invented it, but it shows difficulties in the perception of beer. Examples of more than 100 flavoring categories include grapes, caramel, farmers, smelly, burnt tires, diapers (I hope that I will never try the last option). These flavors are clearly composed of various factors, but they all come from very simple components of beer. In fact, in 1516, the Germans created the “Law of Purity of Bavarian Beer”, or Reinheitsgebot , to protect these simplest components. The law of purity prohibits the production of a drink called "beer" from something other than hops, water and barley. Although brewing requires more yeast, but since it is a microbe, they were not considered an ingredient 500 years ago. It turns out that the modern concept of tastes of most classic types of beer comes from just four ingredients. The most interesting aspect of the taste of beer, at least for me, comes from hops and sugar, and, of course, alcohol, which is a fermentation product produced by yeast from vegetable sugars.

Although beer is probably several thousand years old, hops are used in brewing for no more than a thousand years. Its wide distribution in Germany began in the last 800 years, and was enshrined in brewing with the invention of the ale-India "India" [India Pale Ale, abbreviated IPA, which means "light el India"] at the beginning of the XIX century. With the modern spread of microbreweries and the development of craft beer on hops, many varieties of IPA appeared on the market, as a result of which this drink acquired a huge range of flavors. It is interesting to note that hops were originally used as a preservative for beer, and the bitterness given to them is a side effect. Today's use of hops as the main ingredient of crafting beer leads to the appearance of quite interesting varieties (and I enjoy all these varieties immensely, which classifies me as ordinary tasters).

To supertasters, beer seems much more bitter, so much so that they avoid drinking such intoxicating beers as IPA, and they don’t like even more moderate varieties, like most lagers. Also, personally, I do not feel the burning sensation of alcohol in beer, which the superdustator will feel when a high-alcohol beer touches his lips. An extra taster is generally contraindicated for strong drinks. Under-tasters are able to drink and eat everything, so they are absolutely tolerant to the taste of hops. But they certainly will not be able to catch the difference between the Columbus and Cascade hops . Supertasters will surely be able to distinguish these hops, but if they are not used to drinking beer, then at first they will surely decide that these beers are just very bitter. As well as ordinary tasters who will be interested to try intoxicating beer.

All this does not mean that supertasters and under-taster will not be able to enjoy alcoholic beverages. A nedodegustator without any problems will jam the tequila with jalapeno, and the supergaster can learn to drink beer or wine and enjoy these drinks. There is an opinion that high-level chefs belong to super-tasters who have trained themselves to overcome the excessive sensitivity of the taste buds and use them to create new dishes. Recently, sour ales and farmer ales are gaining in popularity. In this case, brewers who make these interesting varieties take advantage of the acid-sensing taste buds and combine this taste with hops. But everyone who has tried a truly sour ale, notes that taste buds that react to sour taste are much more irritated than those that react to bitterness.

The taste of beer is a fairly simple reaction of chemicals in a drink with molecules of the receptors of the tongue. But, unlike odor, and despite the combined effect of taste, the ability to taste depends solely on the number of cells per tongue. Receptor cells grow in groups of 30 to 100 cells, each of which contains receptor proteins. Groups of cells are called taste buds, most of which are located on the physical formations in the language of the papillae, or papillae. Gutter nipples are located near the root of the tongue, and leaf-shaped - on the sides. There are also taste buds on the palate and throat. They are even found in the lungs, but their function in this tissue remains unknown.

The density of the papillae on the tongue is directly related to the affiliation with superdustators (more than 30 per 100 mm 2 ), tasters (15-30 per 100 mm 2 ) and under-degusters (less than 15 per 100 mm 2 ). The number of taste buds mainly depends not on genetics, but on another development process. Scientists recently conducted a study of exactly how the papillae appear in the tongue, and now an interesting hypothesis is being tested about how the location and number of papillae in the tongue are determined during development. In particular, as part of this work, a strange fact was discovered: the same genes influence the development of teeth and papillae.

How can you effectively find out the number of taste buds on a certain area of ​​the tongue? All methods are associated with staining papillae, and the most pleasant of them is to rinse your mouth with red wine. If you do it right, then you can see in the language of small bumps, which are the papillae. Then you can take notebook paper with three mounting holes. The holes punched in the paper have a diameter of 6 mm. You can tear off a piece of paper containing the hole and place it on the tongue, and then just count the number of papillae visible through it. If you count less than 4 of the papillae, then you are probably underdeveloping. From 4 to 8 papillae means belonging to the tasters. If there are more than 8, then you most likely belong to super taster or super taster.

Rob Desall - Head of the Department of Entomology at the Institute of Comparative Genomics. Sackler at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He wrote and co-authored dozens of books, including Brain: Big Explosions, Behavior, and Beliefs [The Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and Beliefs] and Natural Wine History [A Natural History of Wine]. An excerpt from the book “Multidirectional Perception” (c) 2017 is given.


All Articles