Sour Taste Testing: When Life Gives You Lemons

4.2 based on 12 ratings

Updated on Sep 18, 2014

Have you ever taken a bite out of a lemon? Sure, you're probably a pro at other fruits like apples and pears, but lemons pack a wilder punch. Does anyone actually enjoy the tart, sour taste of an unsweetened lemon? Do you? In this project, we'll find out if there's a difference between the way adults and kids taste sour with a lemonade taste test.


Who enjoys sour food more, adults or kids?


  • 5 Adults
  • 5 Children
  • 30 disposable cups
  • 30 lemons
  • Knife
  • Sugar
  • Measuring spoons
  • Water
  • Marker
  • Notebook
  • Pencil


  1. Fill all 30 cups with water.
  2. Use your marker to label the first 10 cups "A".
  3. Ask an adult to cut your thirty lemons in half.
  4. Squeeze half a lemon into each "A" cup.
  5. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  6. Label the next 10 cups "B".
  7. Squeeze one whole lemon into each "B" cup.
  8. Add 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.
  9. Label the last 10 cups "C"
  10. Squeeze 1 and 1/2 lemons into each "C" cup.
  11. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar.
  12. Think about the three different drinks you have created. Which one do you think you would like best? The "A" cups have a lot of sugar in them, but the "C" cups have none. What do you think each of your volunteers will like best? Do you think children have different taste buds than adults? Write down your thoughts in your notebook.
  13. Using your notes, make a guess about who will like the sour drinks the most. Write your guess, sometimes called a hypothesis, in your notebook.
  14. Have every volunteer drink one "A", one "B", and one "C" cup.
  15. Ask them which cup they enjoyed the most.
  16. Record their answers. Make sure you separate the answers between adult volunteers and kid volunteers.


Adults should prefer the "A" and "B" cups while the children should prefer the "B" and "C" cups.


Taste changes as people age. While children's taste buds often like the extremely sour tastes of unsweetened lemonade or crazy candies, adults would rather have a sweeter option. A big reason for this is because children actually have more taste buds than adults. Those extra taste buds help them enjoy the sour flavors adults try to avoid.

Sour isn't the only taste out there. What about sweet, bitter and salty? You can repeat your experiment, testing children versus adults, to see if there is a difference in how groups enjoy these other flavors. What do you think would happen if you split the results by boys versus girls? Keep guessing and testing! That's how scientists find out more about the world, and now you have the tools to do the same.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely