Do you turn your nose up at black coffee? Can’t stand bitter foods like broccoli, spinach or green tea? If so, you might be a supertaster. Thanks to an extra bunch of taste buds on the tip of your tongue, these bitter flavors taste more strongly to you than they do to most people. It’s been said that, for a supertaster, experiencing flavor is like feeling objects with 50 fingers instead of five.
It’s been known for nearly a century that people differ in their perception of bitter tastes in foods. But not until relatively recently have scientists traced the origin to small genetic differences among people – variations in a taste gene that explains why about a quarter of us (the supertasters) are highly sensitive to bitter taste, while the rest of us either don’t respond much at all to bitter taste, or at least don’t find it particularly unpleasant.