Cautiously, I tore apart the package, dividing up the individual
dosages. Inside the tiny foil-sealed containers sat a small
reddish brown speckled tablet. I passed them out, one by one,
to the anxious onlookers gathered around the table.
“Just a disclaimer,” I said, “I’m not responsible for anything that happens
to you. Sometimes people have bad trips.”
Nervous laughter followed. They looked around the room, waiting for
someone to crack the foil and take the plunge. After a few moments of
pregnant silence, they began to pop the tablets into their mouths.
I placed mine on my tongue.
A citrusy and sour taste overcame my taste buds. Was this what
miracle fruit was supposed to taste like? Rolling it over my tongue,
I began to wonder whether I’d been sold the real thing or just
It was real. We had just consumed a condensed pill version of the
miracle fruit. The miracle fruit plant, Synsepalum Dulcificum, a native
of West Africa, produces a unique berry containing a protein known as
miraculin. Miraculin, which gets its name from the plant, effectively
inverts a portion of your palette, making sour things taste sweet. This
inversion is known colloquially as “flavor tripping,” due to the surreal
way it allows a person to experience familiar foods.
While this product is not generally available in stores, it can be
purchased from a variety of online retailers. Miracle fruit is usually sold
in two forms: berries (costing around $3 each) and condensed tablets
(costing about $1 each). We bought a 10 pack of tablets for about $12 at
http://miraclefruithut.com and received the package within a week.
Using the Reporter editorial board as guinea pigs, we have compiled a
few personal testimonies:
“I’m not fond of grapefruit. Never have been. Grapefruit for breakfast?
Yech. Grapefruit juice? Extra sugar please. But once I sank my teeth into
the grapefruit, there was no sensation of distaste. None whatsoever. All
I could taste was the sweet, juicy flavor of the grapefruit, as if it was
just like a sweeter version of orange juice. It was one of the best things
I’ve ever tasted in my life.
“I’m one of those people that claim there is a taste difference between
Coca Cola and Pepsi. I’m also one of those people who complain about
the balance between the syrup to carbonate at restaurants. I like the
taste of cola, carbonated or flat, period. However, drinking Pepsi was like
drinking water. There just wasn’t any taste.”
“The most shocking part about the entire experience was
probably ordinary white vinegar. After watching a few
people take sips and recoil, I decided to have a small glass.
As I swished it around in my mouth, it reminded me of cheap
white wine, sweet but biting.
“We also had some soy sauce lying around the office, which
I decided to try. Evidently, miracle fruit doesn’t do anything
for really salty things. Even if you’re not flavor tripping, I
wouldn’t recommend drinking straight soy sauce.
It was kind of gross.”
“I guess my taste buds are pretty crafty. One pill wasn’t enough to trick them into
liking vinegar. Two came close, but it still wasn’t quite enough. I considered taking
three, but didn’t want to hog the magic.
“Two pills were enough to get me guzzling lime juice like it was Kool-Aid. It felt like I
had died and gone to beverage heaven. And lemons were pretty amazing too. If Willy
Wonka were to dedicate the rest of his fictional life to eradicating scurvy, I have a
feeling this is pretty close to what he’d come up with.”
“I found the salsa to be very sweet — sweeter than I have ever remembered salsa
tasting. The tangy nature was gone and so was the heat. The salsa was only
hot when it came into contact with parts of my tongue that were not covered
or affected by the flavor tripping. It was a great sensation because parts of my
tongue were on fire while the rest was cool and tasted remarkably delicious.”
“The plain white corn Tostitos brand chips were the shining star of the taste
experiment. They gained a taste very similar to Triscuits but kept their
light, fluffy texture. The real jackpot though was when ... Eric Drummond
[Reporter’s Photo Editor] thought to melt cheddar cheese into them. The
cheese had no taste so it just added a warm, melty texture delight to the
already delicious chips.”
“I would have to say that nothing tastes more horrible than Sweet’N Low
after consuming three miracle berry tablets. The only time I have every
tasted anything that bitter and horrible was when my cousin dared me
to taste the powder inside a vitamin capsule. On the other hand, the Hot
Tamales candy tasted like sweet jelly beans but with a cool and refreshing
sensation in the mouth.”