How to organize a "blind taste" party


#1

Hello Happy Mutants, I’ve wanted for some time to invite my friends to some sort of “blind taste” party.

The afternoon/evening would consist of “games”, where people would have to guess the brand of a particular cookie, to identify common spices, that sort of thing.

Now that I’m actually planning it, I’m having a lot of ideas for things to try out, in an almost scientific manner (the difference between goofing around and actual science is writing stuff down).

Here are some ideas I’ve had :

  • Is price important ? Can you distinguish a cheap bottle of wine from a nice one ?
  • Testing your assumptions : can you really tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, between diet and regular sodas ? I’ve read many times that people actually can’t (see Blink by Malcolm Gladwell), but I’ve never actually tried it.
  • Mineral waters ? A lot of people, myself included, really like certain brands, and dislike others, and I really want to try that :slight_smile:
  • What is umami, the 5th sense that your taste buds know ?

And so on… do you guys have ideas for others “experiments” that could be fun ? It won’t be only differentiation tests, we could try to rank a bunch of cookies, for instance, to discover which brand is actually our favorite :slight_smile:

Isn’t there also some weird fruit from China that modifies your taste ? I saw that on an episode of CSI :slight_smile: Has anyone here ever tried it ?

What steps should I take to make the experiments the most “scientific” ? White plates, nothing on the table ? And how do you “reset” your taste buds between each test ? A glass of water, or milk ?


#2

Making it a double-blind test might be a good idea if you want to be really scientific. You can probably manage to not influence the results if you just number the samples and write down which is which. I think to do that properly would probably require two people to run the experiment. One prepares and numbers the samples and writes down which is which and the other takes the samples to the people. That might be overkill and make things less fun though.

For the Coke vs Pepsi test, try other colas too. RC Cola, whatever generic brands you can find. Ketchup brands would also be fun to test, though you’d need something to dip in it.

The fruit that changes your sense of taste is Miracle Berry or Miracle Fruit. It makes sour things taste sweet.


#3

I was thinking you were going to eat in the dark!

We ate here once, which was a fun experience. Not sure you could recreate it at home though.

http://www.unsicht-bar.com/unsicht-bar-berlin-v2/en/html/home_1_idea.html


#4

I couldn’t get the link to work, so here is an alternate link:

http://www.unsicht-bar.de/

Looks like a neat place!


#5

Oh yes, I absolutly wanted to do it as a double blind, if only because I want to test my own biases and tastes. I wasn’t sure how to do it though, but having two people to do it might be a great idea ! One person writes a random number on the food items and on a piece of paper, and I then bring the things to the guests. The numbers shouldn’t be visible, maybe under the plate. Hum, but then the first guy still might know how the items looked. Is there no way to do it while having everyone participate in the taste test ?


#6

I can’t think of a way. Technically the person who prepares the food shouldn’t even be in the same room as the people testing. They could unconsciously influence the participants. What you could do is have Person A prepare the food and number the samples, then have Person B move the samples around. That would work well with the cola, water, and wine tests (assuming the wine is the same colour). Maybe use dixie cups and write the numbers on the bottoms of the cups.


#7

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