Mouthfeel refers to the physical sensations in the mouth caused by food or drink, as distinct from taste. It is a fundamental sensory attribute which, along with taste and smell, determines the overall flavor of a food item. Mouthfeel is also sometimes referred to as texture.
It is used in many areas related to the testing and evaluating of foodstuffs, such as wine-tasting and food rheology. It is evaluated from initial perception on the palate, to first bite, through mastication to swallowing and aftertaste. In wine-tasting, for example, mouthfeel is usually used with a modifier (big, sweet, tannic, chewy, etc.) to the general sensation of the wine in the mouth.
Mouthfeel is often related to a product's water activity—hard or crisp products having lower water activities and soft products having intermediate to high water activities.
- Cohesiveness: Degree to which the sample deforms before rupturing when biting with molars.
- Density: Compactness of cross section of the sample after biting completely through with the molars.
- Dryness: Degree to which the sample feels dry in the mouth.
- Exquisiteness: Perceived quality of the item in question
- Fracturability: Force with which the sample crumbles, cracks or shatters. Fracturability encompasses crumbliness, crispiness, crunchiness and brittleness.
- Graininess: Degree to which a sample contains small grainy particles.
- Gumminess: Energy required to disintegrate a semi-solid food to a state ready for swallowing.
- Hardness: Force required to deform the product to a given distance, i.e., force to compress between molars, bite through with incisors, compress between tongue and palate.
- Heaviness: Weight of product perceived when first placed on tongue.
- Moisture absorption: Amount of saliva absorbed by product.
- Moisture release: Amount of wetness/juiciness released from sample.
- Mouthcoating: Type and degree of coating in the mouth after mastication (for example, fat/oil).
- Roughness: Degree of abrasiveness of product's surface perceived by the tongue.
- Slipperiness: Degree to which the product slides over the tongue.
- Smoothness: Absence of any particles, lumps, bumps, etc., in the product.
- Uniformity: Degree to which the sample is even throughout; homogeneity.
- Uniformity of bite: Evenness of force through bite.
- Uniformity of chew: Degree to which the chewing characteristics of the product are even throughout mastication.
- Viscosity: Force required to draw a liquid from a spoon over the tongue.
- Wetness: Amount of moisture perceived on product's surface.
- Mouritsen, Ole G.; Styrbæk, Klavs (2017). Mouthfeel: How Texture Makes Taste. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-54324-8.
- Guinard, Jean-Xavier; Mazzucchelli, Rossella (July 1996). "The sensory perception of texture and mouthfeel". Trends in Food Science & Technology. 7 (7): 213–219. doi:10.1016/0924-2244(96)10025-X.
- Goodwin, Lindsey (26 December 2017). "Mouthfeel Defined". The Spruce. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Dollase, Jürgen (2005). Geschmacksschule (in German). Wiesbaden, Germany: Tre Torri Verlag. ISBN 3-937963-20-0.
- Katz, E. E.; Labuza, T. P. (March 1981). "Effect of Water Activity on the Sensory Crispness and Mechanical Deformation of Snack Food Products". Journal of Food Science. 46 (2): 403–409. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1981.tb04871.x.
- Dollase, Jürgen, Geschmacksschule [engl.: Tasting School], 2005 Tre Tori, Wiesbaden, Germany (ISBN 3937963200). German-language textbook by a renowned food critic covering some, but not all of the above mentionend properties/mouthfeelings.
- Stokes, Jason R.; Boehm, Michael W.; Baier, Stefan K. (August 2013). "Oral processing, texture and mouthfeel: From rheology to tribology and beyond". Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science. 18 (4): 349–359. doi:10.1016/j.cocis.2013.04.010