Updated: Apr 10, 2018
This is a nice little experiment for testing your sensory skills and learning the difference between sour and bitter. Here’s how to set up your taste test.
Sensory Skills Taste Test
What you’ll need
8 small cups (paper or plastic)
Distilled water (or low TDS mineral water under 120 ppm)
White sugar, honey, lemon, white vinegar, quinine sulphate (liquid form can be purchased on Taobao. If you can’t get it, use tonic water)
1. This is a blind test so you’ll need to make a mark on the bottom of each cup. Set up the cups as follows – write all marks on the bottom and fill up with water (room temperature), each cup to the same level. Add the following ingredient to the cup with the corresponding mark.
A1 – 2 drops of lemon juice
A2 – 4 drops of lemon juice
A3 – 2 drops of white vinegar
B1 – 1 drop of quinine
B2 – 2 drops of quinine
B3 – 3 drops of quinine
S1 – quarter teaspoon of sugar
S2 – quarter teaspoon of honey
2. Mix up all the cups so you don’t know where they are. If someone is with you, ask them to move the cups around as well.
Now taste all the solutions and group them into sour, sweet and bitter. If you can, rank the bitter cups from 1-3 in order of strength. Rank the sour cups 1 to 2 whilst separating the vinegar and decide which sweet cup contains sugar or honey. Check the marks on the cup for your results.
You’re likely to find this test difficult but it’s a great way for training your sensory skills and learning the difference between acidity and bitterness. If this is too easy to detect, further dilute all the solutions and try again. You can also try using different acids, sweets or bitters in the cups (as with the honey and sugar) and further split the tastes into categories of flavour.
Share your experiences and tips below!