Taste: Classroom presentation

Are you a supertaster?

Have you ever heard of supertasters?

Supertasters experience bitter tastes more strongly than other people because they have a higher number of taste receptors within their fungiform papillae – the big pink bumps on your tongue which contain your taste buds.

By counting the number of fungiform papillae on your tongue, you will be able to determine whether you are a supertaster, a taster or a non-taster.

The Vamps investigate taste

We asked music superstars The Vamps to show us their tongues to find out which of them is a supertaster. After watching the film, you'll have the chance to have a go yourselves and find out how many supertasters there are in your class.

The Vamps investigate taste

How to do the Taste investigation

This short film tells you all you need to know to set up and conduct our Taste investigation. It is designed to be used alongside the activity sheet found with our teaching resources. Please note - this investigation will require adult supervision!

How to do the Taste investigation
Sit with your elbows on the table and chin in your hands.

Your turn

Now it's your turn to take part in the test with your class!

Get your students to work in groups. Each child in the group will have their fungiform papillae (the pink bumps on their tongue) counted by the other members.

The person who is going to have their fungiform papillae counted first needs to sit down comfortably with their elbows on the table, supporting their chin. They will probably need to sit like this for up to five minutes, so make sure they are comfortable.

Make sure you get a good coating of blue dye on the end of the tongue.

Poke out your tongue

Ask the child who's having their fungiform papillae counted first to poke out their tongue, so that the tip sits well over their lips.

Now paint it!

One of your group should place a cotton bud into the mini cup of blue food dye until it is well coated. Using the cotton bud, coat the front third of the tongue with the dye. Make sure they don't close their mouth or the dye will come off!

Remember: Only dip the cotton bud in the food dye once. Throw away the cotton bud once it has been used.

The blue dye will stain the tongue but slide off the prominent pink fungiform papillae.

Place your card

The blue dye will stain the tongue but slide off the prominent pink fungiform papillae.

One of the group should carefully place a hole-punched card on the tongue over the blue food dye.

Ask the person whose tongue has been dyed to push their tongue into the hole.

Each bump contains three to five taste buds. How many can you see?

Count the pink bumps!

Count how many pink bumps you can see on the tongue inside the hole in the card.

Make sure you write down and record your result. Your teacher will be able to tell you the number of visible bumps to tell if you're a taster, non-taster or supertaster - these can be found in our activity plan.

Click here to download activity plan

Taste - Teaching resources
Taste - Investigations additional resources
Why do we like some foods more than others?