Tasting Terminology

Become a Master Taster in your own right by understanding the language employed by the expert chefs who use our judging methodology.

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chalky -  The tendency of some foods or ingredients to have a fine or powdery texture that clings to the mouth. Example: Antacid liquids and meal replacement drinks can have an unpleasant chalky texture.
character -  The combined aromas and flavors of a particular food or ingredient. The character of a food is considered simple when it is one-dimensional, but it is complex when it has many discernible ingredients. Example: Mole sauce has several ingredients that blend to give the sauce a complex character. On the other hand, granulated sugar has a very simple character.
characteristic -  Sometimes used as a synonym for “attribute”; refers to a distinctive quality of a food or ingredient. Example: A characteristic of French fries is their golden color.
chew -  The texture of a food as it is being chewed, as opposed to the texture of the first bite (see “Initial Bite”). Example: Good beef jerky should be tender, but have a long chew.
clean finish -  When a food, particularly its oil component, clears from the palate after swallowing, leaving no residue behind; often the opposite of “waxy” or “coating.” Example: A high-quality pound cake will have a clean finish after swallowing, with no greasiness or oiliness left behind.
cohesiveness -  The tendency of some foods to stick together while being chewed, as opposed to sticking to the teeth, tongue or palate (see “Adhesiveness”). Example: Because they are cohesive, both bubble gum and white bread lump together into a ball while being chewed.
complexity -  The intricacy of a food's individual aroma and flavor components, and how well they blend together. Typically used as an anchor for character, from simple to complex. Example: Mole sauce has a complex character because it exhibits flavors and aromas ranging from chocolate and cinnamon to chicken broth and chile.

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