Are You a Supertaster? Take the Blue Tongue Test!

Onsite Insights always focuses on topics pertinent to school nutrition managers, assistant managers and employees. In the June/July 2018 edition, SN homed in on picky eaters and, more specifically, “Food & Flavor Introductions.” As part of this discussion (with several quizzes and informative snippets you will find to your taste), the Editorial Team suggested that those “picky eaters” picking their way through your serving lines aren’t picky at all—they are supertasters!

Supertasters experience taste in a different way—so foods are perceived with much stronger sensations. They simply have more taste buds than the average food consumer.

The famous “blue tongue” test, which determines if you are a supertaster, is found below. Taste on!


  • Blue food dye*
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Mirror
  • Tweezers
  • Hole punch reinforcers*
  • Magnifying glass
  • Damp cloth/paper towel
  • Taster chart*


  1. Coat a cotton ball with blue dye (make sure it is well-soaked!). Stick out your tongue and, using a mirror for guidance, cover the front third of your tongue with the dye.
  2. Carefully place one of the hole punch reinforcers on your tongue (if doing this with students, remind them not to swallow these; two reinforcers can be stuck together to ensure that they transfer more easily).
  3. The blue dye with stain the tongue but will slide off of the papillae—prominent pink bumps on your tongue containing three to five taste buds, each.
  4. Count the number of pink bumps that appear inside the ring reinforcer. Here it is helpful to have an assistant. You may also wish to use a magnifying glass, count yourself using a mirror or take a photo using your phone and zoom in on the image.
  5. The number of papillae (or bumps) that your count correlate to the chart below. Use the chart to determine your supertaster status.
  6. Make sure to wipe off your tongue with a damp cloth. It may serve you to have a delicious beverage waiting as a reward for an experiment well-done!

Taster chart courtesy of The BBC and Dara O’Briain’s Science Club

*Food dye can both stain and contain allergens, so note this with any participants before you begin the experiment.

*If you do not have any hole punch reinforcers, these can be created by using a hole punch to make a hole in a small square of wax paper.

*Taster chart courtesy of The BBC and Dara O’Briain’s Science Club.

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