The four basic tastes. The sweet as represented by sugar, aspartame and other sweet alternatives. The salty. As far as my knowledge concerns, only salt represents this taste. Rock salt, alkaline salt, iodized salt are all salts. Salty condiments such as soy sauce and fish sauce contains salt. The sour. Vinegar taste sour. Some fruits like green mango, citrus, sampalok and guyabano taste sour due to their organic content. The bitter. Ohhh! My favorite vegetable, the great amplaya.
The fifth basic taste. Recently, another taste sensation was added to the category. It’s the umami. The term simply means delectable, savory or malinamnmam. Umami, the word seen on every AJI-NO-MOTO pack. It was regarded as the fifth basic taste cause it is independent and cannot be produced by combination of other four.
Hot and spicy. I don’t think the hot/spicy sensation is created by combination of other tastes. Maybe and maybe not. Need more reading regarding this matter.
The above mentioned constitute flavors. However, a food item with a perfect taste may not perform as expected due to other factors. Temperature, texture and color also affects the overall flavor.
Temperature. Ice cream, ice candy and halo halo. Eating them thawed is not enjoyable cause of the expectation – they should be icy cold. You may judged an ice cold coffee bad cause you always take it very hot.
Color. Mango juice should be yellow. Orange juice should be orange. Apple juice should be red? or white? Apple skin is red and the flesh is white but the extracted juice is almost always color brown. Manufacturers often tint it with red shade to fulfill the customers assumption. A well prepared apple juice might not taste good cause of the brown appearance. The brain has already decided that it is not good before taking a sip.
Texture. This has a very significant effect on overall flavor, sometimes more powerful than the taste itself. A bland but crunchy potato chips taste better than softened cheese flavored. A well done ordinary rice is far better than half cooked and gritty jasmine rice.
Other examples where the texture makes the overall flavor inferior:
1) too thin peanut butter and mayonnaise
2) softened biscuits and crackers
3) tough bread
4) soggy noodles
5) grainy and gritty chocolate drink
6) too hard or too soft bubble gum
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.