Which tortilla chips deserve a spot next to your favorite dips? You get to decide!
Today, you and your friends or family are going to practice being professional tasters. You’ll taste different kinds of tortilla chips and determine which one is your winner by rating them based on their flavor, their texture, and how well they work to scoop up a dip (their function).
Before you start tasting, take a minute to think about the tortilla chips you’ve eaten in the past.
Ask an adult—or a friend or family member—to be the “Tasting Organizer.” This is an important job! They will be in charge of setting up the tasting. The Tasting Organizer should:
Meanwhile, each taster needs 1 sheet of blank paper. Using a marker or pen, divide the paper into the same number of sections as tortilla chip samples you’ll be tasting. Label the sections “Sample 1,” “Sample 2,” “Sample 3,” and so on, depending on how many samples you have.
Next, the Tasting Organizer should lay out the tortilla chips on each taster’s sheet of paper, placing 3 chips of the first brand in Section 1, 3 chips of the second brand in Section 2, 3 chips of the third brand is Section 3, and so on.
Make sure each person has a glass of water and 2 crackers or a slice of sandwich bread—these are to help cleanse your palate in between tastes.
Give each person a copy of the Tasting Tortilla Chips scoring sheet to keep track of tasting notes.
__Time to taste! __
Next, test the function of each tortilla chip. Give each taster a small bowl of guacamole, salsa, or hummus. Starting with Sample 1, use a tortilla chip to scoop some dip, the same way you would if you were having a snack. Pay attention to these things:
Eat your chip! Then, give Sample 1 a Scoop Score based on your observations.
Time to pick a winner! Which of your samples had the highest overall score? That’s your winning tortilla chip. Look at the key (made by the Tasting Organizer) to see which brand matches your winning sample.
Have each person who did the tasting share their winning brand and say a little bit about why they picked it as their winner. Have each person who did the tasting share their winning brand and say a little bit about why they picked it as their winner.
Now, eat the rest of your hummus, salsa, or guacamole (or make some nachos!) with your winning tortilla chips!
Now that you’ve locked down your favorite (and least favorite) tortilla chips, see if your flavor, texture, and function observations match up with what it says on the packaging. For example:
Did some of the chips taste more like corn than the others? Take a look at the ingredient list on the packaging.
Can you tell the difference between a tortilla chip made from blue corn and a tortilla chip made from white corn? Find out with a simple blind taste test. Close your eyes (no peeking!) or put a blindfold on. Have a friend or family member give you 3 different tortilla chips to taste: 1 white corn tortilla chip and 2 blue corn tortilla chips. Your mission: Identify the chip that tastes different from the other two. Could you taste the difference? How would you compare the flavor of blue corn tortilla chips to white corn tortilla chips?
Fun Fact: This is called a triangle test because it uses 3 samples (2 that are the same and 1 that is different) and a triangle has 3 sides—get it?