Take the taste bud test

Can you tell the flavour of a sweet by just using your sense of taste? Let’s find out!

Intro

We are all scientists. Using our five senses, we do experiments every day to understand how things work. But we don’t use our senses one at a time – they often work together to help us investigate our world.

Take the taste bud test and see if you can figure out a sweet's flavour using just your sense of taste!

You'll need an adult to do this activity.

You will need

  • A packet of sweets that are all the same shape, but have different flavours like Starbursts, Maoams or jelly babies
  • Blindfold or scarf
  • A few friends or family to make it more fun!

What to do

Top tip

Try holding half a lemon near someone’s nose as they try out the experiment. Is it more tricky? Sometimes this confuses them more, because other things in our environment can make it harder to notice flavours!

  • Find a few friends or family willing to take part in the experiment. Ask them to close their eyes and to put the blindfold/scarf over their eyes.
  • Ask them to take a sweet from the packet. Make sure they don’t peek!
  • Tell them to unwrap the sweet, pinch their nose closed and then put the sweet in their mouth.
  • Keeping their nose pinched, ask them to describe what they can taste. Can they work out the flavour?
  • Tell them to un-pinch their nose so that they can smell again. Is it easier to work out the flavour?

Around 80% of people cannot work out the flavour of sweets just by using their taste buds. Knowing what the sweet looks and smells like gives our brain lots more information about what we’re eating. So, without your nose and eyes, you may not be able to tell the difference between foods — especially if the foods all have the same texture!