Since one of the dimensions of aftertaste is duration, and since duration can be measured by time, can you imagine investigating how long a particular food leaves an aftertaste in your mouth?

Whilst visiting Maison Callier–a chocolate attraction in Broc, Switzerland–with his students, Dr. Merritt was reminded that our our mouths/tongues can tell us more about food than just the taste? Most foods, as it happens, leave a describable aftertaste

Aftertaste is what one can perceive of a food (or beverage) after either swallowing it or spitting it out. Many food experts speak about aftertaste in terms of quality, intensity, and duration.

“Quality” describes the actual taste of a food, in which common tasting terms such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami can be used. “Intensity” conveys the magnitude (i.e., size) of these tastes. “Duration” describes how long a particular food’s aftertaste sensation lasts in the mouth or on the tongue. Thus, describing the aftertaste of a food can be thought of as a three-dimensional exercise in which students aim at describing the quality (or qualities), intensity, and duration of the aftertaste of it.

Some ‘after-tasty’ resources for students…

  • Coming soon: A useful word bank full of AFTERTASTE words related to quality, intensity, and duration.

Last updated: November 2019