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My boss today was provided with a cup of coffee when she was expecting tea. I find the brain has a pre-expectation of taste and, when confronted with an unexpected but familiar taste, struggles for a moment to process this. Is this a concept anyone is familiar with and, if so, is anyone aware of a term for it?

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I think it is certainly a sensation that we can all associate with. But I'd be surprised if there is a word for it. –  Urbycoz Nov 15 '11 at 15:46
    
It's not even in the "meaning of liff" - so we need to invent a new word here –  mgb Nov 15 '11 at 16:19
    
If there's not, I propose "gustatory dissonance". –  JeffSahol Nov 15 '11 at 17:07

3 Answers 3

There is no term specific to an unexpected taste. An appropriate term for the general reaction is simply:

surprise.

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While à propos but unrelated term presque vu (or, "tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon") may first come to mind, jamais vu ("when a person momentarily does not recognise [something] he or she already knows") surely is more appropriate.

Restaurant reviews, e.g. of Geminis II seem to use unexpected flavor combinations and gustatory dissonance as set phrases with meanings similar to what you want, but slightly different.

Unnerving also is used, albeit not with specificity; for example, an article about fig, goat cheese, and grilled onion savory cupcakes remarks,

Have you ever thought you were going to drink Sprite, only to find that your server had mistakenly refilled your glass with water? While water can be satisfying, if caught unaware, the sip can be strange and unnerving.

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Startled carries a reasonable mix of surprise and disorientation I think.

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