Food for Thought: The 5 Basic Taste Categories

You’ve probably heard people identify themselves as a sweet or savory person—but did you know there are actually five taste categories?

We’ve broken down all five tastes for your consumption: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami.

Taste Categories


Let’s begin with one of our favorite tastes—sweet!

Sweetness signals that there is a presence of sugar in whatever you are consuming. For many people, their sweet tooth rules their taste buds, mostly because that’s our go-to for a quick energy burst.


Salt is an important mineral for the human body and is necessary in our diets while also enhancing the flavor of foods. Because humans consume so much more salt than we should (2-3 times more than the FDA recommends), our bodies begin to crave more and more.

Salt can be used to amplify sweetness, which is why it’s often paired with dark chocolate or caramel.


Sourness is a taste we experience when our taste buds identify hydrogen ions in organic foods. Often, we experience our sour taste when consuming dark leafy greens or citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits.

A little bit of sourness can help balance out sweetness, adding a freshness to your food. Therefore, vinegar and citrus juice in salad dressings can help add balance to a salad.


Bitterness is one of the more unpleasant exposures to our taste buds, mostly because many bitter items are actually toxic to humans, so our bodies shy away from the taste. A little bitterness can add great flavor to food though—think coffee, kale, or hops in beer.


Umami is a Japanese word for “delicious taste” and it arrives when you cook certain amino acids. It’s most easily identified as a savory taste—the kind you receive when eating aged cheese, soy sauce, tomatoes, or cured meats.

At CIMA Confections, our lollipops will indulge all 5 taste categories, from wild cherry, sour apple, pomegranate, cinnamon, and more. Interested in purchasing wholesale from us for your store or for a fundraiser? Buy online or drop us a note with any questions!