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Can Color Color Taste? - Barb Stuckey
    Copyright © Barb Stuckey 2024


    Can Color Color Taste?

    The goal of this exercise is to experience how changing the color of a juice can confound what we savor. Tell your tasters it’s OK if they get the answers wrong! That’s part of the fun.

    In preparing for this exercise, you will be “making” 5 cups of juice in 5 different colors. They all need to look natural, like various types of juices. Go easy with the color drops! It’s best to put a drop of color onto a spoon first, then stir it into the juice. That way, you won’t squeeze out too many drops by mistake. Be sure to prepare the juice—and hide the bottles—before your tasters arrive.

    You will need:

    • Masking tape and markers
    • 5 transparent cups, glasses, or bowls
    • 1/2 cup apple juice
    • 1/2 cup lemonade (which contains only lemon juice, water, and sugar)
    • 1/2 cup white grape juice
    • 1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail
    • 1/2 cup pear juice (or other light-colored juice)
    • 1 package food coloring (containing blue, red, yellow, and green)
    • Spoons for tasting
    • Unsalted saltine crackers
    • Paper and pens or pencils

    Note: I recommend not-from-concentrate juice because it has more aromatic top notes. Better yet, juice your own from fresh fruit!


    1. With masking tape on the bottom of the glasses, mark each juice by name
    2. Add 1/4 cup of the corresponding juice to each glass.
    3. To the glass of apple juice, add 2 drops of red color (goal: red)
    4. To the glass of lemonade, add 1/2 drop of red color (goal: pink)
    5. To the glass of white grape juice add 1 drop of red, 1 drop of yellow, and 1 drop of blue (goal: brown)
    6. To the glass of cranberry juice add 1 drop of red and 1 drop of blue (goal: purple)
    7. To the glass of pear juice add 1 drop of yellow (goal: orange)
    8. Tell the tasters you’d like them to tell you what type of fruit juice they taste. Tell them to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of just orange juice, you want to know what type of orange it is. Navel? Tangerine? Have them cleanse their palates with saltines between tastes.
    9. After the tasters have written down their guesses, let them know what is what.

     Observe & Discuss

    1. Did anyone get all of them right?
    2. How did color color the participants’ answers?