The primary human organ we use to taste food is the mouth. To be more specific it’s the huge group of cells known as taste buds that are covering the whole tongue, a smaller part of the inside of the cheeks, throat and on top of the mouth all of which are responsible for our sense of taste. Rudolf Wagner and G. Meissner are the German scientists who first discovered these specialized hypersensitive taste buds which can be seen only by a microscope. The so called “papillae” have hairlike extensions similar to antennas that increase the reception of the tongue cells.
There are four primary tastes that the human tongue recognizes: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. There is one more discovered by the Japanese called “umami”. The last one is not quite popular but it could be explained as a “meaty” taste. Umami is based on the tongue detection of glutamate. It just makes food taste more.
All in all, these tastes would not be possible for our tongue to detect if it was not for the saliva in our mouths. The saliva helps dissolve the food by breaking down its components so that the taste buds could effectively capture them. The sense of taste and smell then subconsciously triggers the production of digestive acids in our stomachs. Ultimately, if the tongue is not wet we won’t be able to taste absolutely anything.