Are You a Supertaster?

If you watched Mondovino, you know that Robert Parker is a Supertaster and has his palate insured for one million dollars. OK then, what is a Supertaster? It’s a person who's more sensitive to tastes than others because of a higher density of papillae on their tongue. According to studies conducted since the 1930’s approximately 25% of all people are supertasters, 50% regular tasters and 25% non tasters.

I first read about this in Jennifer Rosen’s entertaining article Taste Test. More recently it was referred to in Jamie Goode’s excellent new book Wine Science. I couldn’t wait any longer.

Taste Test Materials

To test yourself, you’ll need:

  • Blue food coloring
  • Q-tips (or something to dab the food coloring on your tongue – I used a paper towel)
  • Piece of paper with a standard (7mm) hole punched in it.
  • Magnifying glass or camera with close-up macro mode


  • Dab the blue food coloring on the tip of your tongue
  • place the piece of paper with the hole in it on the tip of your tongue
  • Using the magnifying glass, count the pink dots (your papillae) in the hole or take a close-up photo.

Taste Test


  • If you count less than 15 papillae, you’re a non-taster.
  • Between 15 and 35, you’re a regular taster.
  • Over 35, you’re a supertaster.

I counted 27, so I’m a regular taster. Damn! The picture on the right isn't a bunch of botrytised grapes; it’s a 7mm diameter part of my tongue with blue food coloring on it. To find out more about supertasters go to the BBC’s Science and Nature.

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  • how have I possibly not managed to see this before. It’s fucking fantastic. Even the headlines are seriously cute (you could write for the Mirror). The tongue business is amazing. If I were an NPR reporter I’d do a feature on tongues tomorrow. Sadly, I’m just a gynecologist from Salem, Oregon. The tongue picture is beyond fabulous. YOU, sir, have an enormous penis — metaphorically speaking. Story on St John was terrific too. How can you get yourself a weekly column?


    Joe Mama on
  • Wow, I can’t believe my luck! Consecutive posts from 2 different Jamie G’s: one a famous author and one a wine chick extraordinaire! What other wine blog can boast such a phenomenon?

    732 would make you a hypertaster there AJG! I conveniently left it out above but more women are supertasters than men. 25% of people overall are supertasters which breaks down to 35% of women being supertasters and only 15% of men.

    Steve De Long on
  • I lost count a few times, but I got 732. We chicks have more sensitive palates, you see.
    Hey, thanks for the link!

    Another Jamie G on
  • Glad it worked. It’s a fun test. I’ve been trying to get hold of PROP for ages, which is less messy – would love to do this test with a bunch of wine writers and food critics to see whether there’s any pattern.

    Jamie G on
  • I was recommended this web site by means of my cousin. I’m not sure whether this submit is written through him as nobody else recognize such designated approximately my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thank you!

    Hosting Awards on

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