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Sensory Evaluation In the Culinary Classroo m. By: Dr. Aubrey Coffee Clemson University. Development of Sensory Testing. Historical Evaluation of goods, water, weapons, etc. by humans The rise of trading  graders professional tasters Systematic “sensory” analysis based on:

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sensory evaluation in the culinary classroo m

Sensory Evaluation In the Culinary Classroom


Dr. Aubrey Coffee

Clemson University

development of sensory testing
Development of Sensory Testing


  • Evaluation of goods, water, weapons, etc. by humans
  • The rise of trading  graders professional tasters
  • Systematic “sensory” analysis based on:
    • Wartime efforts
development of sensory testing3
Development of Sensory Testing


  • Development of triangle test (Scandinavia)
    • Food Science Dept at UC Davis (1965)
  • Sensory methods developed to serve economic interests
    • Worth or acceptability of commodity
    • Evaluates alternate courses optimizes value for money
development of sensory testing4
Development of Sensory Testing

Principle uses of sensory techniques:

  • Quality control
  • Product development
  • Research
sensory evaluation
Sensory Evaluation
  • The assessment of all the qualities of a food item as perceived by the human senses
  • Not merely food “tasting” it can involve describing food color as well as texture, flavor, aftertaste, aroma, tactile response, and even auditory response
  • Sometimes sensory analysis is used interchangeably with sensory evaluation.
sensory evaluation7
Sensory Evaluation

IFT Definition of Sensory Evaluation:

The scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze, and interpret human reactions to those characteristics of foods and beverages as they are perceived by the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing

development of sensory testing8
Development of Sensory Testing

Primary function of sensory testing:

To conduct valid and reliable tests,

which provide data on which sound

decision can be made.

sensory evaluation9
Sensory Evaluation

The role of sensory evaluation is to….

provide valid and reliable information to R&D, production, and marketing for management to make sound business decisions about the perceived sensory properties of products.

sensory evaluation10
Sensory Evaluation

Sensory Evaluation as a Scientific Method

  • Incorporates the following:
    • Identification of a problem
    • The statement of a hypothesis
    • An experimental strategy to investigate the problem
  • Strategy accomplished through data collection and analysis and a conclusion is reached that answers the original question
sensory evaluation11
Sensory Evaluation

Sensory Evaluation as a Scientific Method

  • The conclusion either accepts or rejects the hypothesis according to the results of the study
sensory evaluation12
Sensory Evaluation

Sensory Evaluation as a Quantitative Science

  • When numerical data are collected to establish specific relationship between product characteristics and human perception.
  • Human responses to stimuli are quantified.
classification of test methods
Classification of Test Methods
  • Classified according to their primary purpose and most valid use
  • Critical to match test method to objectives of project
  • Three classes are most commonly used
    • Affective
    • Discrimination
    • Descriptive
  • Each have a different goal and selection criteria for panelist
classification of test methods14
Classification of Test Methods

Discrimination Panelist are screened for sensory acuity, oriented to test method, sometimes trained

Descriptive Panelist are screened for sensory acuity and motivation, are highly trained

Affective Panelist are screened for product use, are untrained

sensory evaluation food service industry
SensoryEvaluation-Food Service Industry

Formal Evaluation

  • R&D at Corporate Offices (McDonalds, Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream, Wendy’s, Denny’s

Informal Evaluation

  • Wait staff sampling daily specials; Customers-specials of the day; chefs- developing new menu items (trial/error)
sensory attributes
Sensory Attributes

We tend to perceive the attributes of a food item in the following order…..

  • Appearance
  • Odor / aroma / fragrance
  • Consistency and texture
  • Flavor (aromatics, chemical feeling, taste)
sensory evaluation18
Sensory Evaluation

There are at least three steps in the process of sensory perception:

impression of flavor
Impression of Flavor


Mouth feel

Trigeminal perception



The overall impression of flavor is a combination of taste, odor, mouthfeel, and trigeminal perception




Variety & Interest


Basic Notes


Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami

The Flavor Pyramid Concept by Dr. Kilcast

the flavor pyramid by steven kahn
The Flavor Pyramid by Steven Kahn
  • Similar in concept with Dr. Kilcast
  • Describes the development of flavor differently
  • At the base or foundation of his pyramid is Emotion, followed by Appearance, Aroma, Texture, Sensation, and at the top, Basic Tastes.
the foundation is emotions
The Foundation is Emotions
  • Childhood
  • Travel
  • Family
  • Events
  • Culture
  • Past


flavor is enhanced by visual appearance
Flavor is Enhanced by Visual Appearance
  • Color
  • Contrast
  • Size
  • Height
  • Plate Coverage
aromatic aromas
Aromatic Aromas
  • Acidic
  • Esters
  • Spicy
  • Lactonic
  • Sulfury
  • Sweet
  • Woody/Smokey
  • Terpenic
the impact of texture
The Impact of Texture
  • Crunchy
  • Crispy
  • Soft
  • Mushy
  • Smooth
  • Creamy
taste the feel sensations
Taste the Feel—Sensations
  • Cooling
  • Numbing
  • Fullness
  • Tingle
  • Burn
  • Bite
  • Pungency
  • Astringency
the tip of the pyramid basic taste
The Tip of the Pyramid – Basic Taste
  • Sour
  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Salty
  • Umami (Savory)

How do you incorporate sensory evaluation into your curriculum?

  • As a course offering
  • An introductory or first level course focusing on all aspects of sensory evaluation
  • As a component in an existing course
  • Incorporating elements of sensory evaluation within an basic culinary course
  • Utilize ingredient companies educational initiatives

Hands-on Activities

As a component in an existing course:

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory


Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • Scope (Introduction)
  • Information on the topic
    • Basic tastes types
    • History on umami
    • What is it?
    • Where can it be found?
    • How difficult is it to identify?
    • Characteristics

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • Test Objective(s)
  • Why is the laboratory being conducted?
  • What do you expect the students to learn?
  • Objective for this laboratory:
  • To recognize and evaluate umami taste qualities

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • Materials and Methods for the Laboratory
  • What supplies are needed – can be time intensive
  • Include every step in the process – makes it easier the next time it is conducted
    • Note adjustment or changes immediately after lab
  • Include directions for the students
  • If demonstrating, include also

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • Key Teaching Points
  • List here the teaching points for the labs
  • Just the “cake”, no “icing”
  • As students are completing the lab, these would be the comments to emphasize the objectives stated in the beginning.

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • References
  • Include all of your sources
  • When using web-based sources, include address and date accessed – information do change
  • Allows for students to complete further research
  • Gives credit to researcher and authors

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

  • Supplemental Handouts
  • Tables and forms for students data collection
  • Additional information to reinforce topic or objectives

Basic Tastes – Umami Laboratory

Brewed Lite Soy Sauce

Brewed Soy Sauce

Non-brewed Soy Sauce

Chocolate Sauce w/o Soy Sauce

Soy-Infused Chocolate Sauce

Tasting Grid


Hands-on Activities

As a course offering:

The Elements of Butter Laboratory

elements of butter laboratory
Elements of Butter Laboratory
  • Research and Development
  • New Product Development
  • Ingredient Substitution
  • .
elements of butter laboratory43
Elements of Butter Laboratory
  • Fresh Butter
    • Mild, sweet, clean, pleasant flavor and a delicate aroma
    • Appetite seems to “craves more of the product
    • Reminiscent of the best “butter popcorn”.
elements of butter laboratory44
Elements of Butter Laboratory
  • Butter Buds® 8x
  • Enzyme modification technology
  • Highly concentrated flavor in convenient powder form – 400 x the flavor strength
  • 1# of Butter Buds® 8x = flavor strength of ~ 8# butter
  • Typical usage level: 1.0%-4.0% total batch weight
elements of butter laboratory45
Elements of Butter Laboratory
  • Diacetyl
  • Greenish yellow liquid compound (CH3CO)2
  • Occurs as a natural byproduct of fermentation
  • Found in several dairy products (butter, cheese, milk), as well as bread, coffee, and rum
  • Component of artificial butter flavoring
thank you
Thank You !




Kaun, S. 2006. The multi-sensory flavor experience. Flavor & the Menu. Tigard, Oregon. Pg. 48-52

------ 2006. Building on the flavor pyramid. Flavor & the Menu. Tigard, Oregon. Pg. 55-58

------ 2006 Flavor by Latitude. Flavor & the Menu. Tigard, Oregon. Pg. 48-52

Kikkoman International, Inc. 50 California Street, Suite 3600, San Francisco, Ca 94111. Website:

McGee, H. 2006. When science sniffs around the kitchen. New York Times. Accessed December 11, 2006 at

Meilgaard, MM., Civille, GV., Carr, BT. 1999. Sensory Evaluation Techniques. 3rd Edition. CRC Press. New York

Murano, P.S. 2003. Understanding food science and technology. Wadsworth / Thompson Learning. Belmont, CA

Powell, J. 2006. The way we eat: file of dreams. New York Times. Accessed December 11, 2006 at