Exploring New Bitter Taste Sensations

Chefs work with all of the five taste sensations to create balanced dishes, and manufacturers often do the same to create food products that will satisfy consumer palates. Many love sweet, salty, sour, and umami snacks, but bitter is often overlooked and most of the time avoided. Most are hardwired to dislike bitter taste sensations as, to our ancestors, bitter meant toxic and potentially harmful. But now that we no longer need our taste buds to ensure our safety, it’s time to explore bitter taste sensations and incorporate them into our everyday lives. Today, we at Advanced Biotech will be taking a look at three food trends centered on bitter foods and proving that bitter foods can be enjoyed, too!


Third-Wave Coffee

            Third wave coffee refers to coffee that is purchased based off its origin and is processed via artisanal means. It’s truly coffee for coffee lovers and places an emphasis on sustainable production, fair trade, and authenticity. Transparency plays a big part in the proliferation of third-wave coffee, as many younger consumers are growing increasingly concerned with ethical production methods and environmental preservation and want those values to extend to all aspects of their lives. This relatively new farm-to-cup trend in coffee also features the flavor of the coffee itself, sans milk, sugar, and other sweet and syrupy additions, allowing the unique heritage of the beans to shine. Bitter taste sensations are synonymous with coffee, and third-wave coffee is no exception.


Semisweet Chocolate

            Semisweet chocolate, while nothing new to seasoned bakers, is experiencing a rise in popularity among consumers as it is being more commonly featured in snacks with mature flavor profiles geared towards adults. Semisweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate, its name indicating that no more than 50% of its mass is sugar, unlike sweeter chocolates where the mass equals more than 50%. Decreased levels of sugar allow the cocoa flavor and complex, bitter tones to shine and make it a versatile choice for desserts and baked goods. Semisweet chocolate pairs well with dried fruits, coconut, citrus, and even sharp cheeses to make unique charcuterie boards for holidays, guests, and self-care nights. Try replacing milk chocolate with semisweet in your next recipe and enjoy the balance its natural bitterness brings.



            Bitters are like salt and pepper for cocktails. They are made from botanicals, like aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and fruit and fused into a flavorless alcohol base to create a potent flavoring commonly used in cocktails like Old Fashioneds, Sazeracs, and martinis. Bitters come in all sorts of natural flavorings to cater to many different types of tastes and applications. Grapefruit, mint, cherry, celery, and even chocolate – the options are as endless as the uses as bitters can also be used in salad dressings, vinaigrettes, and even in baking for a natural boost of flavor and an enhanced bitter sensation.


The bitter taste sensation no longer needs to be feared as many trends are embracing this forgotten flavor. We’re looking forward to seeing how the food and beverage industry will embrace this underrated taste sensation.