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The Difference Between Taste and Flavor

Written By Elyse Aufmann 16 Feb 2021

Do you use the words “flavor” and “taste” interchangeably? You won’t anymore. Read here about the difference between the two terms and why it matters.

The Difference Between Taste and Flavor

Eating food and drinking beverages can be amazing and delicious experiences. However, have you ever been confused or tongue-tied when having to explain what exactly you liked about that delicious meal or tasty drink you liked? We know we have. That is exactly why we’re here: to share some insight into the terms “taste” and “flavor.” The real question is, do you use the words “taste” and “flavor” interchangeably? If you do, you shouldn’t. Taste and flavor are not the same! Who would have ever thought?

To better understand what separates these two words, what they actually mean, and how you should properly use them, continue reading below. Learning about the difference will expand your “flavor literacy” and increase your knowledge of cooking, enjoying your meals, and sharing your experiences. Our hope is that our explanation on the difference between taste and flavor clears up all the confusion around this topic.

An In-Depth Look at All Things Taste

One of the most important things to note about taste is that it only happens inside your mouth. You can define taste as the sensation of a flavor perceived in the mouth after the tongue has contact with a substance. Taste directly correlates with how your mouth and tongue interact with the food and beverages you consume. Taste buds are the direct reason for that, and they send signals directly to the brain.

When something interacts with your taste buds, the most common tastes you might experience are as follows:

  • Sweet: You’ll generally perceive this taste when you consume a substance that’s rich in sugar.
  • Sour: This taste is very similar to bitterness, which we’ll explain below, but it’s a little different. A sour taste comes from a mostly acidic solution, such as lemon juice or organic acids.
  • Salty: It sounds surface-level; however, the salt or sodium chloride in a substance directly results in the salty taste you get when consuming a food or beverage.
  • Bitter: Words that can better describe bitter include a pungent, sharp, or disagreeable flavor. Bitterness never falls in the salty or sour category but outside of both.
  • Savory: If something is savory, it’s most likely delicious. “Savory” is often used to describe a taste that’s the opposite of sweet or salty.

A Definition of Mouthfeel

It’s important not to confuse the term “taste” with the mouthfeel or texture of whatever you’re consuming. For more clarity, a quick look into what mouthfeel is and how it correlates with taste and flavor is a must. Mouthfeel is the physical sensation that occurs in the mouth when it comes in contact with a particular food or beverage. It can also be referred to as texture. Understanding that taste has nothing to do with texture or the physical sensation of mouthfeel is exactly what separates it from the term “mouthfeel.”

Don’t Get Taste or Flavor Confused with Aroma

We hate to throw in another term that might confuse you even more, but to help you better understand the difference between taste and flavor, a definition of aroma is justified. Aroma is often defined as a typically pleasant smell. At times, people use the words “odor,” “scent,” and “smell” interchangeably. Your brain—specifically the part of the brain that deals with emotion, behavior, memory, and motivation—senses aromas. This is why smells can often trigger memories or experiences.

Flavor: Everything You Need To Know

To better understand flavor, combine the three terms we talked about above. Flavor is the combination of the aroma, the taste, and the mouthfeel of a substance. To further explain, flavor is how your brain synthesizes the aroma, taste, and texture and creates an overall experience. Keeping this in mind, you can only image how many possible flavors are out there when there are so many components to create them.

Everyday Application of These Terms

Communicating the overall flavor of a food or drink can be difficult because of the many elements that create flavor. If you still don’t understand the difference between the terms discussed above, that’s where the confusion may come in. If you can keep these ideas straight, you should be able to stop using the words “taste” and “flavor” interchangeably and start using them the correct way. So now, when you eat your favorite meal or try something new, you can truly explain thoroughly and correctly the experience you had. How wonderful is that?

Our hope is that these explanations and in-depth definitions have created a better understanding of the difference between taste and flavor for you. No more using the terms “good” or “bad”; instead, share the true adjectives that explain the flavorful experience! Now you can not only correctly communicate using the terms “flavor” and “taste” but also share all the wonderful food and beverage experiences you’ve had with your friends and loved ones. Who doesn’t love sharing exactly why they loved their new favorite bottle of wine? We know we do!

And while we’re on the topic of taste and flavor, that’s where we here at Get Suckered come into play. We’re a flavor concentrate manufacturer that has perfected magical little bottles of liquid flavor that you can be use in numerous products and for countless applications. Our inventory is quite large, covering liquid flavors, powder, and emulsion flavors for you to purchase. Our hope is that you can use our products to create your favorite lip gloss, perfectly flavoring it with your favorite sour candy flavoring. Lip gloss is only one of the countless non-food–related projects you can do with our products; there are so many more. Food projects are tasty and welcomed as well!

If you’re interested in any of our products, please feel free to search our inventory, which is available on our website. In addition to our inventory, we also have assistance available on our site for a chat option that allows you to speak with one of our professionals about our business and our products. We want you to have a wonderful and delicious experience here at Get Suckered!

The Difference Between Taste and Flavor

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