Thought of the day – All in good taste!

I read in a magazine at the weekend about a coffee taster who has insured his tongue for the pricey sum of €13 million!  Given that there are more than 9,000 taste buds on the human tongue that works out at about €1,400 per tastebud!

How much are your taste buds worth?
How much are your taste buds worth?

My thought on reading the article was… why stop there?  Our tongue is not the only place in our body where taste receptors are found!  Taste receptors in the Pancreas are thought to moderate insulin production in response to levels of the sugar fructose.  Taste receptors found in the lungs have been shown to respond to certain bitter tasting compounds and may, in the future, play a vital role in control and prevention of asthma! Taste receptors can also be found in the nasal cavity, the intestines and the stomach!

Then there is the fact our “taste” is influenced by other factors including smell, sight and texture!  Our sense of smell greatly contributes to our taste… think about how little you can taste your food when your nose is stuffed up with a cold!

Our eyes play a large part in the whole process as well.  We  can even be tricked into perceiving different tastes in our food or drink if they appear visually altered.  An example of this is tastes reported by people drinking white wine that was been coloured to appear as red. Even the colour and appearance of the plate or cup we eat or drink from can influence how we record taste.

Maybe the professional coffee taster should re-evaluate his insurance policy… perhaps €13 million is too conservative a figure?  What do you think?

…just a thought!


Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

One thought on “Thought of the day – All in good taste!

  • July 29, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Wow you learn something new everyday!

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