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There is a particular taste that I could never quite translate in English. It is not bitter, although it sometimes occurs with it. The best example is eating a raw quince fruit. The mouth and tongue get a sort of dry feeling. Similar taste can be experienced with some persimmon fruit, and unripe plums. I know the word in French (âpre) and Bulgarian (стипцив). Google translates these as rough, but that somehow seems unlikely. Any ideas?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Community Jan 7 '16 at 19:17

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Astringent, maybe?

Astringent taste is the least common of all the 6 Tastes and can be found in legumes (such as beans and lentils), fruits (including cranberries, pomegranates, pears, and dried fruit), vegetables (such as, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke, asparagus and turnip), grains (such as rye, buckwheat, and quinoa), spices and herbs (including turmeric and marjoram), coffee, and tea.


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    Haha - same link as my simultaneous comment! I always cite the stringy threads down the sides of a peeled banana as a typical example if I'm talking to someone who doesn't understand what I'm talking about. "Raw" olives are another (extreme) example, but not many Brits have actually tried biting into one of those. – FumbleFingers Jan 7 '16 at 14:42
  • Imagining persimmon (Sharon fruit) juice is pretty vivid for me. – Dan Jan 7 '16 at 14:48
  • It's a good one isn't it @AleksandarSavkov. It's a photo of a poster from a Basque magazine (Argia). – Dan Jan 7 '16 at 14:59
  • Exactly. Aronia is famous for that taste, and apparently dubbed chokeberry for that very reason (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aronia). – anemone Jan 7 '16 at 18:39
  • For the record, I'll note acerbity, which the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines as "Sourness of taste, with astringency"; and acerbic "Sour or harsh" (same source). I also disagree this question already has an answer at the link put in the header ("what is the numb sensation ...) - the question here seems to be more about a taste that 'puts one's teeth on edge' rather than 'numbness', which anyone drinking kava will know is quite different. – IanS Mar 24 '17 at 22:13

"Astringent" is excellent. But, if you are looking for a more common term. Consider harsh.

Example: enter image description here



Unripe persimmon is extremely mouth-puckering.


"Mapakla" is the word. This word is used in the Philippines to describe the sensation you get in your mouth after biting raw banana.

  • "Mapakla" is not an English word. It's Tagalog. – Catija Jan 7 '16 at 18:37

I think you may be describing the sense one also often gets from grape juice, which is a dry sensation throughout the mouth, even though it's full of liquid. That flavor and taste is called "sec." Sec is another way to say medium dry, un-sweet and is borrowed into gastronomy from wine world.

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    "Astringent" applies to wine too, even if there's also a French wine-specific term for it. I'm also unsure if "sec" really means astringency specifically; I think it's a more general term as you say - it also implies something about sweetness. It's just "dry" in French. – Cascabel Jan 7 '16 at 15:58
  • When one puts "astringent" on their face, it's a drying alcohol. However, when "astringent" relates to taste, it isn't used to describe something dry, but describe it as bitter, harsh, and caustic. The OP said specifically, "It's not bitter." Sec doesn't mean "astringent." – Benjamin Harman Jan 7 '16 at 16:02
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    The astringent substance in grapes and persimmons is known as "tannins" - a term derived from that, generally used in wine to describe an astringent mouthfeel, is "tannic". "Dryness" in wine is not the same as astringency - when wine is "dry" or "sec", this means that it is not particularly sweet. As such, this answer is close to correct, but you've got your wine terms mixed up. – recognizer Jan 7 '16 at 16:06
  • I think you're confusing the idea you get from "astringent" as a drying alcohol based product in cosmetics as meaning a drying flavor in wine, but it doesn't. The word "astringent" means "drawing together." In flavor, "astringent" describes a very bitter taste that is so harsh it makes people's faces recoil or draw together, thus "astringent." "Sec," Latin for dry, describes that dry taste one gets in wine and grape juice, that flavor that the OP is describing. It doesn't lean at all toward bitter. If it leaned toward anything, it would lean towards sour, although not tangy. – Benjamin Harman Jan 7 '16 at 16:12
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    @BenjaminHarman I know that you linked to sources, and my point is that those sources do not appear to match actual culinary usage. I cited one very good source already: On Food and Cooking (widely regarded as pretty much The book about science in cooking). The rest of what I said is not merely my opinion, but rather the usage I've seen widely used on cooking.stackexchange as well as in cookbooks. – Cascabel Jan 7 '16 at 18:32

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