There is actually a continuum for # of taste buds from a low end extreme (really Tolerant) of less that 500 or over 11,000 at the most sensitive end – Hypersensitive and Sweet Vinotypes. I have been really curious as to why people disagree, often at polar ends, on wine quality and was researching sensory capabilities with scientists and my mentors in the field. This phenomenon is really well understood except, it seems, in the wine community.
70% of Hypersensitive and Sweet are women, but don’t forget that 30% are men!
Commonly referred to as “insensitive bastards.” Ask my wife. Seriously, more towards the Sensitive and Tolerant (Scotch, cigars, etc.).
More sensitive people tend to gravitate towards arts and think very philosophically. At the tolerant extreme are linear thinkers who are decisive and bottom-line oriented. “Conflicted” Vinotypes are intuitively one way but for all sorts of reason get caught up competing, or aspiring to success, in the world of another Vinotype world. This is really a hoot for many people to learn – a very successful Turkish winery CEO I know is a Hypersensitive Vinotype and at age 4 decided to compete with men and beat them at their own game – she drinks Scotch, smokes cigars and loves big red wines, all as a result of her 2 older brothers picking on her! She went to college to become a dancer, graduated with an MBA and finance degree. Conflicted!
Sw = sweet
Hs = delicate
Se = flexible
To = strong
Never forget, or underestimate that environment, society, learning, and peers have a huge influence on actual preferences. In very general terms, here are the way-over-generalized wines and remember there are SO many wines this is almost an injustice:
Sw = Sweet. Period. Usually low in alcohol as well.
Hs = Pinot Grigio, Rosés, Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay and, REALLY smooth reds.
Se = Whites, reds, tend to love rich and intense but not over the top tannins or oak.
To = Big. Red. Oak. Modern 100 point reds! Bring on the alcohol and intensity.
Coffee is a common beverage, inherently bitter, and subject to all sorts of intensity variations. The coffee drinker gets to determine how intense, or not; how sweet, or not; and how smooth, or not. It is a simple gauge, certainly not conclusive, to general flavor sensitivities and tolerances and preferences.