Flavor vs. Taste

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Flavor and Taste is that the Flavor is a sensory impression of a food or other substance and Taste is a sense that detects types of chemicals that touch the tongue.

  • Flavor

    Flavor (American English) or flavour (British English; see spelling differences) is the sensory impression of food or other substance, and is determined primarily by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The “trigeminal senses”, which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat, as well as temperature and texture, are also important to the overall gestalt of flavor perception. The flavor of the food, as such, can be altered with natural or artificial flavorants which affect these senses.

    A “flavorant” is defined as a substance that gives another substance flavor, altering the characteristics of the solute, causing it to become sweet, sour, tangy, etc.. A flavor is a quality of something that affects the sense of taste.

    Of the three chemical senses, smell is the main determinant of a food item’s flavor. Five basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savory) are universally recognized, although some cultures also include pungency and oleogustus (“fattiness”). The number of food smells is unbounded; a food’s flavor, therefore, can be easily altered by changing its smell while keeping its taste similar. This is exemplified in artificially flavored jellies, soft drinks and candies, which, while made of bases with a similar taste, have dramatically different flavors due to the use of different scents or fragrances. The flavorings of commercially produced food products are typically created by flavorists.

    Although the terms flavoring and flavorant in common language denote the combined chemical sensations of taste and smell, the same terms are used in the fragrance and flavors industry to refer to edible chemicals and extracts that alter the flavor of food and food products through the sense of smell. Due to the high cost or unavailability of natural flavor extracts, most commercial flavorants are “nature-identical”, which means that they are the chemical equivalent of natural flavors, but chemically synthesized rather than being extracted from source materials. Identification of components of natural foods, for example a raspberry, may be done using technology such as headspace techniques, so the flavorist can imitate the flavor by using a few of the same chemicals present.

  • Taste

    Taste, gustatory perception, or gustation (Adjectival form: gustatory) is one of the five traditional senses that belongs to the gustatory system.

    Taste is the sensation produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds in the oral cavity, mostly on the tongue. Taste, along with smell (olfaction) and trigeminal nerve stimulation (registering texture, pain, and temperature), determines flavors of food and/or other substances. Humans have taste receptors on taste buds (gustatory calyculi) and other areas including the upper surface of the tongue and the epiglottis. The gustatory cortex is responsible for the perception of taste.

    The tongue is covered with thousands of small bumps called papillae, which are visible to the naked eye. Within each papilla are hundreds of taste buds. The exception to this is the filiform papillae that do not contain taste buds. There are between 2000 and 5000 taste buds that are located on the back and front of the tongue. Others are located on the roof, sides and back of the mouth, and in the throat. Each taste bud contains 50 to 100 taste receptor cells.

    The sensation of taste includes five established basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. Scientific experiments have demonstrated that these five tastes exist and are distinct from one another. Taste buds are able to distinguish between different tastes through detecting interaction with different molecules or ions. Sweet, savory, and bitter tastes are triggered by the binding of molecules to G protein-coupled receptors on the cell membranes of taste buds. Saltiness and sourness are perceived when alkali metal or hydrogen ions enter taste buds, respectively.The basic tastes contribute only partially to the sensation and flavor of food in the mouth—other factors include smell, detected by the olfactory epithelium of the nose; texture, detected through a variety of mechanoreceptors, muscle nerves, etc.; temperature, detected by thermoreceptors; and “coolness” (such as of menthol) and “hotness” (pungency), through chemesthesis.

    As taste senses both harmful and beneficial things, all basic tastes are classified as either aversive or appetitive, depending upon the effect the things they sense have on our bodies. Sweetness helps to identify energy-rich foods, while bitterness serves as a warning sign of poisons.Among humans, taste perception begins to fade around 50 years of age because of loss of tongue papillae and a general decrease in saliva production. Humans can also have distortion of tastes through dysgeusia. Not all mammals share the same taste senses: some rodents can taste starch (which humans cannot), cats cannot taste sweetness, and several other carnivores including hyenas, dolphins, and sea lions, have lost the ability to sense up to four of their ancestral five taste senses.

  • Flavor (noun)

    The quality produced by the sensation of taste or, especially, of taste and smell in combined effect.

    “The flavor of this apple pie is delicious.”

  • Flavor (noun)

    A substance used to produce a taste. Flavoring.

    “Flavor was added to the pudding.”

  • Flavor (noun)

    A variety (of taste) attributed to an object.

    “What flavor of bubble gum do you enjoy?”

  • Flavor (noun)

    The characteristic quality of something.

    “the flavor of an experience”

  • Flavor (noun)

    A kind or type.

    “Debian is one flavor of the Linux operating system.”

  • Flavor (noun)

    One of the six types of quarks (top, bottom, strange, charmed, up, and down) or three types of leptons (electron, muon, and tauon).

  • Flavor (noun)

    The quality produced by the sensation of smell; odour; fragrance.

    “the flavor of a rose”

  • Flavor (verb)

    To add flavoring to something.

  • Taste (noun)

    One of the sensations produced by the tongue in response to certain chemicals.

  • Taste (noun)

    A person’s implicit set of preferences, especially esthetic, though also culinary, sartorial, etc.

    “Dr. Parker has good taste in wine.”

  • Taste (noun)

    Personal preference; liking; predilection.

    “I have developed a taste for fine wine.”

  • Taste (noun)

    A small amount of experience with something that gives a sense of its quality as a whole.

  • Taste (noun)

    A kind of narrow and thin silk ribbon.

  • Taste (verb)

    To sample the flavor of something orally.

  • Taste (verb)

    To have a taste; to excite a particular sensation by which flavour is distinguished.

    “The chicken tasted great, but the milk tasted like garlic.”

  • Taste (verb)

    To experience.

    “I tasted in her arms the delights of paradise.”

    “They had not yet tasted the sweetness of freedom.”

  • Taste (verb)

    To take sparingly.

  • Taste (verb)

    To try by eating a little; to eat a small quantity of.

  • Taste (verb)

    To try by the touch; to handle.

  • Taste (noun)

    the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance

    “the wine had a fruity taste”

  • Taste (noun)

    the faculty of perceiving taste

    “birds do not have a highly developed sense of taste”

  • Taste (noun)

    a small portion of food or drink taken as a sample

    “try a taste of cheese”

  • Taste (noun)

    a brief experience of something, conveying its basic character

    “it was his first taste of serious action”

  • Taste (noun)

    a person’s liking for particular flavours

    “this pudding is too sweet for my taste”

  • Taste (noun)

    a person’s tendency to like or be interested in something

    “have you lost your taste for fancy restaurants?”

    “he found the aggressive competitiveness of the profession was not to his taste”

  • Taste (noun)

    the ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard

    “she has frightful taste in literature”

  • Taste (noun)

    conformity or failure to conform with generally held views concerning what is offensive or acceptable

    “that’s a joke in very bad taste”

  • Taste (verb)

    perceive or experience the flavour of

    “she had never tasted ice cream before”

  • Taste (verb)

    have a specified flavour

    “the spinach tastes delicious”

    “the coffee tasted of acorns”

  • Taste (verb)

    sample the flavour of (food or drink) by taking it into the mouth

    “the waiter poured some wine for him to taste”

  • Taste (verb)

    eat or drink a small portion of

    “she tasted course after course, but was unable to eat very much”

  • Taste (verb)

    have experience of

    “the team has not yet tasted victory at home”

Oxford Dictionary

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