Blind Taste Test, Part 1

Happy New Year to everyone! Hopefully 2014 won’t be a filler episode for you like 2013 was for many. Personally, 2013 was half a wonderful year & half miserable. It was wonderful since I finally graduated, met Josh–an amazing & hilarious individual I call my boyfriend–& I got to spend more time with some of my closest, but busiest, friends. Yet, it was miserable because if I wasn’t happy, I was stressed or depressed in some shape or form trying to organize the next decade of my life. If I wasn’t somehow masterfully disappointing myself, someone else would disappoint me instead.

I’ve never really enjoyed New Year’s & this year was no exception. Josh flew back home to Florida to spend time with his family. Despite being 3 hours ahead, he stayed up until it was 12 AM in California to Skype me even though his eyes were obviously growing heavy with sleep. Had I tried to keep him up any longer, he’d probably be snoring in the middle of my story telling! He didn’t want me to be alone, but my house was completely void of human life except my own. He was really sweet & it was the perk of the week especially since I was recovering from a 72 hour migraine & the cough I had, developed into a fever. I’ve been practically bedridden for a week, so I haven’t been able to study very much either.

Nevertheless, I’m using my break time from studying to post up my very first Blind Taste Test featuring corn puffs, ketchup, poptarts, & tea. I conducted a BTT with my roommate–who’d like to remain anonymous–Miss MOA (Michelle Obama Arms) & her friend David. Afterward, MOA tested our roommate Yuri & me with the same products. The results were pretty interesting!

Spice Test

Like science experiments, you need some sort of control test. I had the testers identify two spices–smoked paprika & cinnamon–to test their ability to differentiate between the spices. We used frozen grapes to cleanse their palate after each test.

Cinnamon » Both testers accurately identified cinnamon.
Smoked Paprika » David was able to tell that the spice had a “smokey” component, but didn’t know its name & MOA correctly identified that it was paprika.

MOA later conducted a Blind Taste Test with Yuri & me & had us identify pumpkin pie spice blend & cinnamon, which were very similar in flavor.

Cinnamon » Both of us correctly identified cinnamon.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend » Yuri thought it was a variation of cinnamon & I correctly identified the spice blend.

Pirate’s Booty vs. Trader Joe’s Corn Puffs

One of MOA’s favorite snacks involve fluffy corn puffs seasoned with cheddar called Pirate’s Booty. If you’ve never had them, they’re equivalent to eating clouds of cheddar. MOA snacks on it so often that she was absolutely positive that she’d be able to differentiate between the two brands. David had never had either brand before so his perspective was indeed, completely unbiased & blind!

Better Product Overall

While all of us agreed that both the products were very good, Pirate’s Booty was the overall champion with a 3 to 1 vote. What can I say? I love Trader Joe’s products! Everyone agreed that the cheddar balance was great in both, but TJ’s Corn Puffs had a stronger cheddar character.

Brand Identification

Everyone correctly identified the difference between the brands, even David who had never had either!

Fluffier vs. Crunchier

After pretty much eating the entire sample, all 4 of us concluded the same thing: Pirate’s Booty is fluffier, TJ’s Corn Puffs are crunchier.


TJ’s Corn Puffs are a good substitute for Pirate’s Booty if you can’t find any at your local grocery store, but Pirate’s Booty reigns supreme. TJ’s Corn Puffs also comes in sour cream & onion while Pirate’s Booty is solely white cheddar.

Pop-Tarts vs. Trader Joe’s Toaster Pastries

When MOA isn’t eating a lean cuisine or Pirate’s Booty, she can be spotted near the microwave oven waiting for her strawberry Pop-Tart to warm. It’s her breakfast, lunch, dinner, & middle of the night snack of choice, so I wanted to see if she would equally enjoy TJ’s version too.

We had 2 Trader Joe’s Toaster Pastries flavors–Cherry Pomegranate & Strawberry–& 1 strawberry Pop-Tart.

Best Flavor

Yuri & I both thought the cherry pomegranate flavor from TJ’s had the best flavor. David preferred TJ’s strawberry while MOA preferred the strawberry Pop-Tart.

Brand Identification

While David, MOA, & Yuri correctly identified the strawberry Pop-Tart from TJ’s version, I thought the opposite. In my defense, I can’t remember the last time I had a Pop-Tart! Everyone agreed that TJ’s versions tasted much healthier.

Flavor Identification

Strawberry » Everyone identified the strawberry flavors in both brands.
Cherry Pomegranate » David thought it tasted like apple cinnamon, while MOA & Yuri said it tasted like blueberry. I knew it was cherry pomegranate since I bought it & thought it tasted like cherries mixed with pomegranate.

Sugar Balance

David & MOA both thought that the sugar balance in TJ’s toaster pastries were better & also thought they tasted healthier. I thought TJ’s strawberry toaster pastry was so incredibly sweet that I thought it had to be a Pop-Tart. It was so tart to me that I just thought it was awful. Meanwhile, Yuri thought the sugar balance was fine in all of them.


Pop-Tarts reign supreme in the strawberry kingdom, but TJ’s Cherry Pomegranate flavor is a good substitute. Both brands have many different flavors. My personal favorite is TJ’s seasonal pumpkin flavor. While Pop-Tarts really aren’t as bad for as you might think they are, TJ’s version is organic & less in sugar & calories.

Check back soon for the second half of Blind Taste Test, Part 1 featuring tea & ketchup! I’m hoping to conduct a Part 2 soon with eggs & soup. Give me some suggestions you’d think would be interesting to test. I value your input!


  1. I’m glad 2013 was a good year for you.

    This blind taste test is an awesome idea. How cool! I love the results. I have done a few blind taste tests in my time but none as exciting as this one!

  2. Happy New Year, Tiffany! I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful year. (:

    This Blind Test sounds like a fun idea! I’ve always wondered if I could identify what paprika tastes like. But for more ideas, I think you should try Coca-cola v. pepsi! I think one day I’m going to try this with my friends too.

    • My year was half miserable, don’t forget that! Mostly miserable to be honest.

      But anyway, I’m going to definitely do a Coke vs. Pepsi too. I’m pretty sure Pepsi will win even though I prefer Coke…or at least I think I do? A friend of mine who studied psychology told me that sometimes people really just love Coke because someone in they knew loved it & so they loved it too by association with the person they knew (& hopefully like).

      Some people make some profound claims like being able to differentiate between organic eggs & regular eggs, so test them! :)

  3. lovely test you’ve done here!
    I’ve never had pop tarts before and they’ve been selling it in the Netherlands for quite a while now. I think I’m going to get some ^^

  4. Aw, that’s sweet of your boyfriend to stay up to talk to you 😀 Time differences can be tough for communicating!

    The blind taste test sounds fun! That’s good that your roommate was able to recognize the brand like she claimed :) I haven’t had a normal strawberry Pop-Tart in a long time, but I still remember the taste for some reason. I think I had it too much when I was young!

    I’ve always wanted to try the blind taste tests I see on Top Chef. They do ones where you guess the ingredient or guess which ingredient is the higher quality one. I guess I’m curious whether my taste buds are up to the challenge, haha.

    Looking forward to the rest of the results!

    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reply to your comment, but it just didn’t work on my iPad. -___-

      I don’t think I really had Poptarts when I was younger now that I think of it. My parents are a bit of health nuts, but they’re also not at the same time. Lots of vegetables & fruits in my home, but some of my mom’s dishes are really heavy in cholesterol, fat, & just wayyyy too much animal protein.

      You & your husband should do a taste test! I think it’ll help you determine whether or not it’s worth it to shell out the money for “higher quality” things if you two really can’t taste the difference. Sometimes though, the higher quality items are worth buying because of the way they were manufactured or whether or not they’re healthier.

  5. I love this test! This is such a fun idea. One of my friends did a blind taste test with different brands of water (Dasani, Nossi, Deer Park, tap, etc) and he got each one right. Needless to say, his dad kept buying him high end water, haha.

  6. This is really interesting! Was this test just a personal project or is it for school? I don’t think I can taste the difference between anything… unless it’s something very distinct. However, I can taste the difference between Pepsi and Coca Cola haha. Looking forward to the tea test!

    • It was just for fun. I already graduated so it’s definitely not for school. I decided to do one just to see if my roommate could really tell the difference between the products she loved or if her love for the products were due to brand name loyalty. Also, I’m really into purchasing items from Trader Joe’s & organic products, so it’s also a budgeting test too. I mean, should I really be buying these products if they really are inferior to the others & are more expensive? Sometimes the answer is yes because of the way they’re produced or maybe even no.

      You’d be surprised how different some things taste, especially ketchup!!

      Those results will come later, hopefully tomorrow haha. :)

  7. 2013 was a good year for me, a few little annoyances, but I got over them. Hope 2014 will be totally awesome for you. I found things got better after I finished university so hopefully it’ll be the same for you.

    Blind tasting session? I’ve done something similar in the past with organic and non-organic food. Unfortunately, the non-organic ones tasted much better :(

  8. Happy New Year’s, Tiffany!

    It sounds like you had an awesome 2013 with graduating and meeting your boyfriend! Congratulations on the both as well :). But despite of the down sides of 2013, you still managed to pull through. That’s so sweet of Josh to stay up to Skype with you til midnight over here. Hopefully you feel better by now.

    The Blind Taste Test sounds interesting! Would you consider cheese puffs as Pirate’s Booty too? It’s amazing how you can really tell the difference between these different branded food; though it makes sense since their ingredients aren’t exactly identical… Like how you can tell generic oreos from real oreos apart.

    In an overall perspective, it seems like everyone identified the products correctly. That’s pretty cool considering how you have to guess the brand/flavor based on taste alone.

    • Happy New Year to you too, Nancy. Now with the lunar new year coming up, the saying still applies! Hahhh.

      Pirate’s Booty are still cheese puffs. They’re just very fluffy white cheetos to be honest. Think of those fluffy cheetos – similar texture.

      Their ingredients are very similar, but Trader Joe’s is generally healthier. They’re pretty decent at replicating major brand names, but most of the time, originals can’t be beaten! TJ’s is also pretty cheap so their brands are great alternatives. I’m the biggest TJ cheerleader so I have a bit of a bias toward them, which is why was one of the reasons I had a taste test. 😀

  9. I recall watching blind taste tests on Hell’s Kitchen as a way to test which chefs had a more refined palette, and I always thought it looked like fun. I have a feel I would be horrible at it though, haha.

  10. Nice to know 2013 was pretty friendly for you. it was more of a rubbish for me…sigh and 2014 is starting to suck as well (it’s not even mid 2014 yet for pete’s sake!)
    Blind taste is such an interesting idea! Haha imagine enjoying something you’d cringe / avoid when you’re looking at it obviously but when your eyes are closed, you’re unaware and end up enjoying the food :))

    • I want to do that to my mom, but she’s a scaredy cat. I can’t get her to try any sushi that’s raw because she’s scared of getting some sort of bacterial infection. I’ve been eating raw sushi for over a decade & I’ve never gotten food poisoning from it!! My mom is paranoid haha. I would love to get her to try some delicious food outside of her comfort zone, but she’s a stickler for staying with what she knows. Not really adventurous. Her palate is also really unrefined hahaha.

  11. So fascinating! I never thought to try something like this at all, however I did see a restaurant that has a blindfolded dinner night while watching Mystery Diners once.
    It would definitely be fun to do with a group of friends!
    It kinda sucks to spend NYs away from the boyfriend especially if he has family from afar that he’s visiting and you’re not able to go with him. But hopefully he’s back now and everything is back to normal.

  12. Happy New Year! I never find new year’s that exciting either, it’s just a day really. Too many high expectations haha.

    The taste test sounds great, I’ve always wanted to do one, but don’t thinkI’d trust what my friends put in front of me haha. You seem to have got some really interesting results anyway, I love Pop Tarts!


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