Sour cream taste test: The third—and final—part

~Thursday~  Today I participated in the third—and final—part of the Sour Cream Taste Test. If you’re not caught up, and want to be, you can read about part one and part two before continuing.

I arrived about ten minutes early, but they were ready for me, and I took a seat at a table with two other people.

A quick recap with regards to the accouterments used in each part of the test:

  1. Part 1: No blindfold, no nose clip
  2. Part 2: Blindfold and nose clip
  3. Part 3: Nose clip, but no blindfold

When it was all said and done, the only permutation missing was “blindfold, but no nose clip.” But I digress…

Once again, I tasted twelve samples, and although water and crackers were available, nowhere in the documentation did it refer to them—or our palate. I don’t take any credit at all for that, in spite of my little speech at the end of part two of the test.

And once again, the same three questions were asked about each sample:

  1. Please evaluate this sample and rate creaminess on the following intensity scale. 1 = not creamy at all and 11 = exceedingly cream.
  2. Considering everything about this sour cream, how much do you like it overall?
  3. How would you describe the creaminess of this sample—from “not at all cream” to “much too creamy.”

which we were to taste with the nose clip on, answer the three questions, and then remove the clip. What was different about this round was that we answered on paper instead of on the computer. I have no idea why.

Printed sheet with the three questions noted above on it

Reflections about this part of the test:

  1. Once again, I marked the same answer for the second and third question for every sample—”neither like or dislike” for question 2, and “just about right” for the question 3.
  2. At about halfway into the test today, it occurred to me that since I couldn’t actually taste the samples, that I really should put just the slightest amount of sour cream in my mouth to avoid the calories. I wish that would have occurred to me at the beginning of part two of the test!
  3. I kept wondering why we were answering on paper today instead of on computers.

Reflections on the entire test now that all three parts are done:

  1. I’m thrilled with having received some cereal (from the first part), a $25 Target gift card (from the second part), and a $15 Target gift card (for today’s part).
  2. I’m not sure why this was called a “taste test,” when you actually had to give feedback without being able to taste the sample in two-thirds of the test.
  3. During part one of the test, I clearly understood what question 2 was about. But, I never understood it for parts two and three, and I feel a little bad about answering, “Neither like nor dislike” for every sample. The problem, as I mentioned in part two is that I mostly base whether I like something on how it tastes, and this was a “taste test” after all, but I couldn’t taste the samples throughout parts two and three due to the nose clip being on until after the questions were answered. When it says, “Considering everything about this sour cream,” that to me would include the taste. And the fact that they already knew (through two different questions no less) what I thought of the creaminess, I didn’t think “considering everything” meant just considering the texture.
  4. With regards to the third question that I answered “just about right” to for every sample, and as I mentioned in part two of the test, I’m just not very particular about the creaminess of my sour cream. And again, if it had chunks in it, I would have checked something to the left of “Just About Right” or if it poured out of the spoon, I would have checked something to the right of “Just About Right.” But, I found it a little frustrating to either not have a way to indicate that or that there wasn’t a sample or two that would have been too extreme for me that I could have indicated so.
  5. I still wonder whether this taste test was for: a) sour cream that will be used in the dining hall, b) sour cream to be used or sold in some commercial business, or c) a psychological test that was not about sour cream at all.

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