Bitter Taste – Beverage Genetics

Bitter Taste

Your bitter taste receptors can dominate the coffee experience so we try to outline it here. Flavors are complicated because there are a couple factors that control how you feel about tasting something.

1- You have physical parameters or abilities that physically allow or keep you from tasting something. Like how some people are colour blind, some people can't taste the terrible that is tonic water. 

2- Flavours are subject to environmental influence. You can train yourself to overcome bitterness from bad or poorly made coffee just like you can train yourself to “enjoy” kale. Or you can have a terrible wine as a 19 year old at a great party and "love" that wine because of social pressure. Deep down you know that kale tastes like a garbage bag left in the sun, and chardonnay is icky. We take the guesswork out of finding a coffee you love, and drive towards the answers that deliver the best tasting coffee. BUT because you've trained yourself for years to eat broccoli because it's healthy, you might actually start enjoying it. That means we might not get flavour right the first bag you try.  We're ok with that and hope you are too. 

Here's a taste of some of the science we use to generate our results.  

The human bitter gustatory response and the bitter taste receptor are well characterized. This research has lead to the understanding of bitter taste to food selection (Tepper et al, 2009) as outlined below:

6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) and Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) sensitivity → Food Perception → Preference → Selection

Caffeine has a bitter taste, and individual differences exist for the perception of bitter taste (Masi, Dinnella, Monteleone, & Prescott, 2015). Caffeine’s action on the bitter taste pathway is outlined in the Featured Image (Poole & Tordoff, 2017). Perception of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) has been linked to bitterness in coffee (Hall, Bartoshuk, Cain, & Stevens, 1975). The TAS2R38 receptor is known to have an affect on bitter taste reception and has been associated with Mendelian inheritability (Meyerhof et al., 2010; Roudnitzky et al., 2016).

We take a peek at your bitter taste genes to help us align you with a coffee that is more suited to your physical taste parameters. There's lots of information out there about how we perceive flavours differently based on a myriad of factors. That means, that we may never get your flavour profile accurately, however we will try our best to bring the most suitable flavour experience based on the the best of science. 

There's lots of questions around this so please let us know what you're interested in learning about by posing a question in the Contact page.


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