The Coffee Connection: From The Tongue To The Nose To The Brain!

How often do you stick out your tongue and look at it in the mirror? Probably only when you are sick, have a sore throat or practice special oral hygiene after visiting the dentist. However, the tongue is truly a very unique human organ that plays a very important role in our daily lives. The tongue is our gateway to sensory experiences which trigger emotions and sensations in our brains and bodies that are very pleasurable. bishamconsulting

We can go on for days, weeks or even years assuming that the tongue is simply “there” and not really understanding what it does for us. The tongue occupies a very large portion of our mouth. The tongue has bumps all over called “papillae” that contain taste buds which are part of a flavor system that communicates with the human brain. The taste buds have microscopic hairs called “microvilli” which send messages to the brain about the food we eat or beverages we drink. These “microvilli” let the brain know when something tastes sweet, pannimanagement bitter, sour or salty. Try this exercise: imagine drinking your favorite specialty coffee. What is it about that coffee that you like the most? Now, think about your “microvilli” lacking the ability to distinguish the flavor and being unable to message your brain about it. What a shame that would be, right? Frankly, consuming foods would lose a great deal of appeal since they would be basically “tasteless.” This short exercise brings into focus how important the tongue really is. shorpnews

Thankfully, the majority of people have healthy tongues, “papillae” and “microvilli.” Coffee drinkers certainly appreciate this because it is how they can taste different flavors. Coffee drinkers enjoy distinguishing the fine nuances that a fruit and cream flavored coffee offers versus a dark espresso or an organic decaffeinated coffee. It is an amazing thing to learn that the average person has about 10,000 taste buds in the tongue which are replaced, according to scientific data on the subject, viraltechnolgy approximately every two weeks. As we age, it is fact that we lose the ability to replace all taste buds. For this reason, older people have about 50% less working taste buds which is obviously a significant reduction. This explains why we lose the ‘taste’ for some foods as we get older. There are other factors besides aging that reduce the ability to taste foods; for example, health issues and smoking to name just two.

Over the years there has been a theory about the tongue being “mapped” in four (4) specific areas, each of which specifically detects sweet, bitter, sour or salty tastes. According to a 2006 study by The University of California at San Diego, moderntimesgazette which included researchers from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, this notion is not correct. The study findings demonstrated that the entire tongue senses all tastes in an almost equal way, not partially by an area of the tongue. This study also found out that although the sense of smell and sight are important in the overall sensory experience of eating and drinking, taste recognition happens in the mouth. This is actually a very interesting finding. It means that there is a real-time communication between the “mouth receptors” and the brain which creates specific emotional responses of pleasure or displeasure to the foods and beverages consumed.

In a practical way, as coffee lovers, it is easy to see how this chemical receptivity or “real-time connection” operates. Go ahead, brew a cup of freshly roasted gourmet coffee and take the time to sip it slowly. Let the tongue receptors become completely enveloped by the delicious beverage. Experience how the flavor of the coffee on the tongue transmits a sensation of pleasure to your brain almost immediately. If you sweeten your coffee, try a sip without sweetener and notice your own reaction of displeasure. Add the sweetener and see the difference. Did you experience this in just one area of your tongue? Most likely not as the scientists from The University of California at San Diego concluded. Of course, we all know that coffee tasting involves far more than just the mouth and the tongue. The sense of smell plays a key role in detecting aromas and fragrances and also sending messages to the brain for added pleasure.

In conclusion, when you sip your coffee, ooceanofgames the beverage releases flavors that immediately travel through the tongue, the “papillae” and the “microvilli.” The beverage also releases chemicals that travel into the nose or olfactory receptors. Your sense of vision captures the image of the cup in your hands and also sends messages to the brain. Your sense of touch with the warm cup in the hand also provides a feeling of satisfaction from the tangible touch of the recipient. Your sense of hearing captures the soft slurping sound of the tongue and the coffee as the sip fills the mouth and the satisfaction of swallowing the beverage. All senses matter in the end very much for a complete coffee drinking sensory experience.



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