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July 3rd, 2012

~Tuesday~ I participated in a 10-minute taste test today, with a compensation package consisting of a $5 gift card to Target.

As you can see, today's test was of 5 milk products:

Evaluate 5 milk products. Answer four questions about each product. 2-minute rest period between samples.

Now, I'm not at all a fan of drinking milk "straight up," and I rarely do—not even with Oreos, as you couldn't make me drink it with those crumbs floating all up in there. To that end, today I took very small sips of the five milk products, which were indeed served straight up.

There were four white products and one brown product. The first white product had a strong vanilla flavor to it. The other three white products had the flavor of just plain milk, with their difference being mostly about their consistency. I would have guessed that at least two of those three were less than whole milk, maybe even as far as skim. The brown product tasted like chocolate milk, as one might expect.

I tasted none of those flavors before responding to the following statements though, as I was required to wear a nose clip while tasting them:

  1. Rate the creaminess of the product.

  2. Rate the smoothness of the product.

  3. Rate the thickness of the product.

  4. Rate the overall flavor of the product.
As I seem to do every time, I had trouble discerning what exactly these terms meant, and there were no criteria provided to help with that.

To me creaminess and smoothness are pretty much the same thing. Afterward, I asked someone what they thought "creaminess" meant, and they said, "the thickness." Can you see how the results of this test might potentially have validity issues?

Even these simple definitions, which a quick "define <term>" Google search returned, would have been helpful:

  • creaminess: resembling cream in color, taste, or consistency

  • smoothness: texture without roughness; smooth to the touch

  • thickness: the viscous consistency; concentration; density
And once again, I struggled with how to rate the flavor of something I couldn't taste until after I had to answer the question about its flavor.

By far the most exciting thing to me about today's test was (hover over image for answer if you don't spot it)...

The word palate was spelled correctly!

Here are the fruits (and ham) of my labor from my $5 Target gift card, which actually required me to lay out 27 cents of my own to fully cover:

Deli fresh sliced ham, an avocado, and a Hothouse tomato.



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