I thought fruit would be more flavorful if served at room temperature. However, recently I had the opposite experience with a bunch of grapes. I'm wondering "why?"

I bought a bunch of unrefrigerated, room-temperature, grapes at the local market. I tried eating them right away, but was very disappointed by the texture and flavor: mushy, and not very sweet. I thought the grapes were from a bad batch, or had been out too long (in the sun?). Or maybe the grapes needed seeds to be flavorful (I think these grapes were bred to be missing the normally huge, bitter seeds).

Anyways, I put the grapes in the refrigerator. A few days later, I was surprised by the totally different texture and flavor when chilled. They had the more solid texture I had originally expected, as well as the sweet grape flavor. There was a tangy/tart flavor that had originally been missing when I ate them unchilled.

Can anyone explain my recent experience? Usually when I try the same fruit before refrigeration and afterwards, the unchilled fruit tastes much better, or at least the same (with peaches, for example). I think I've even eaten room-temperature grapes without a loss in flavor.

The exact type of grape I was eating were Kyoho grapes ("Geobong" grapes in Korean)

closed as primarily opinion-based by Catija, Cindy, Debbie M., dlb, Ward Aug 27 '17 at 4:55

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Are you sure the grapes didn't just ripen in that period, making them better regardless of refrigeration? I mean I strongly prefer cold fruit and only eat it refrigerated at home, but leaving them out (in the sun) should generally ripen up and make them sweeter, depending on the specific fruit. It is after all its natural wild state – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Aug 20 '17 at 12:17
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    They get even better when frozen – Rob Aug 21 '17 at 13:30

It's because different taste buds are activated differently depending on temperature.

A new study reveals why our taste perception is enhanced as the temperature of food and beverage products increases, explaining why beer is more bitter and ice cream is sweeter when consumed warm.

......The study... identified microscopic channels in our tste buds - termed TRPM5 - as being responsible for different taste perception at different temperatures.

According to our researchers, the reaction of TRPM5 in our taste buds is much more intense when the temperature of food or fluid in increased, sending a stronger electrical signal tot he brain and resulting in enhanced taste.

Note, this particular article is over 10 years old. There has been a lot of research that has both confirmed and extrapolated greater details on this.

Food temperature affects taste, reveal scientists - Food Navigator

Other, more recent articles -

The Guardian (2013): Hot or not? How serving temperature affects the way food tastes

Flavors Fluctuate with Temperature - Scientific American (2012)

In the case of your grapes, there is probably some kind of flavor profile or combination that is greatly enhanced by temperature. If the skins have a pungent bitterness that is enhanced at a greater temperature, it might overpower the flavors you like, while at a lower temperature, it gives a hint of those flavors that is more pleasing, while the grape also has enough sweetness that still carries through while cold.

That is probably a much more likely scenario than the particular food rapidly ripening or decomposing to that degree.


It tastes different because chemical and biological reactions are dependent on temperature.

Being alive means that the organism is expending energy to keep its metabolism running and its biochemistry at an equilibrium which couldn't exist without the whole system geared to support it. Once a part is separated from the organism, in all but the lowest organisms, its metabolism changes. The flesh of animals starts decomposing, but the metabolism of plants also changes (although they can continue to be alive and even procreate if you supply them with good conditions). Some reactions stop, barriers break down, enzymes which have been kept in check start acting on the cytoplasm, etc.

And what happens when the equilibrium is disturbed depends on the external conditions. So a bunch of grapes which has spent some hours in the fridge will taste differently than a bunch of grapes which has spent some hours out in the sun, or some hours in a closed warm tub. So some kind of difference is to be expected, and that's what you are tasting. It is not unique to grapes, or to fruit, or even to plant matter, it is actually much more pronounced in meat.

As for why you prefer the taste from the fridge, this is not something we can guess. Personal tastes are exactly that, personal. There is no known mechanism to find out for sure how an individual started liking a given taste, although in some cases guesses can be made (sugar content, or memorable events connected to a smell, or simple familiarity are common). So you just have to take it as an information you discovered about yourself - it is no different than "I like spinach" or "I like honey". You simply like cooled grapes.

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