Wheatgrass juice has become an increasingly popular health drink in recent years. Some people swear by its supposed health benefits, while others find the taste unpalatable. But does wheatgrass juice actually taste good? In this article, we’ll examine the flavor profile of wheatgrass juice and look at why some people love it while others hate it.
What is Wheatgrass Juice?
Wheatgrass juice is extracted from the young shoots and leaves of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It can be juiced at home using a wheatgrass juicer or store-bought in juice form. The resulting juice is a dark green colored liquid with a thick, grassy consistency.
Wheatgrass juice became popular in the 1930s thanks to Charles Schnabel, an agricultural chemist who used young wheat shoots to feed chickens. He claimed the wheatgrass made the chickens healthier and promoted their growth. From there, wheatgrass was adopted into health food circles and eventually gained popularity as a nutritional supplement and health drink.
Nutritional Profile of Wheatgrass Juice
Wheatgrass juice contains a concentrated amount of nutrients, as the young wheat shoots are harvested just 7-10 days after germination. It is particularly high in chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.
Some of the main nutrients found in 1 ounce (30 ml) of wheatgrass juice include:
- Calories: 15
- Protein: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 12% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 24% of the DV
- Iron: 4% of the DV
- Calcium: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
Wheatgrass juice also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper, and selenium.
In addition, wheatgrass is a source of plant compounds like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and chlorophyll that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Taste and Flavor Profile
So what does wheatgrass juice actually taste like? Many describe fresh wheatgrass juice as having an earthy, grassy, and bitter flavor. The taste is often compared to the flavor of freshly mowed lawn clippings.
The strong, bitter taste of wheatgrass juice can be off-putting to some. It has an intensely vegetal and herbaceous flavor that is quite unlike most other fruit or vegetable juices. The grassy taste comes from chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that gives wheatgrass its vivid color.
Wheatgrass juice often has an astringent, biting aftertaste as well. This sharp flavor comes from oxalic acid, one of the compounds found naturally in wheatgrass leaves.
There are also underlying sweet, spinach-like notes to wheatgrass. But the bitterness and vegetal qualities tend to overpower any sweetness.
Here’s how some people describe the taste of wheatgrass juice:
- “Bitter and puckery.”
- “Like I’m chewing on grass.”
- “Earthy and muddy.”
- “Leafy and green.”
- “Sweet but really strong.”
The taste and aroma of wheatgrass juice can vary slightly depending on factors like:
- Age of the wheatgrass – younger shoots tend to be milder
- Growing conditions – low light or low oxygen may increase bitterness
- Juicing method – chewing wheatgrass intensifies the flavor
- Freshness – older wheatgrass juice tastes more bitter
But most wheatgrass juice has an overwhelmingly grassy, bitter taste, regardless of these variations.
Potential Health Benefits
Though the taste may be a turnoff, some people are willing to drink wheatgrass juice for its purported health benefits. Here are some of the leading health claims surrounding wheatgrass juice:
- High in nutrients – Wheatgrass contains concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds compared to mature wheat.
- May aid detoxification – Chlorophyll and antioxidants in wheatgrass may help remove toxins.
- Boosts immunity – The nutrients in wheatgrass may help support immune function.
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Plant compounds in wheatgrass may help reduce inflammation.
- Cancer-fighting properties – Test tube studies show wheatgrass extracts inhibit cancer cell growth.
- Improves digestion – Enzymes in wheatgrass may aid digestion and mineral absorption.
However, many of these purported benefits are speculative. More high-quality studies in humans are needed to substantiate the health claims surrounding wheatgrass.
Tips for Improving Taste
If you want to give wheatgrass juice a try but are wary of the taste, here are some tips that can help make it more palatable:
- Sweeten it: Adding a bit of honey, apple juice, orange juice or stevia can help mask bitterness. However, this also increases the calorie content.
- Mix it with other juices: Combine a small amount of wheatgrass juice with milder flavored juices like carrot, peach, mango or pineapple juice.
- Drink it cold: Serve wheatgrass juice chilled with ice to help tone down the strong flavor.
- Take small sips: Only drink a little bit at a time instead of gulping it down. Let the flavor gradually hit your palate.
- Try wheatgrass capsules: For those who really can’t stand the taste, taking wheatgrass in capsule form is an option.
- Hold your nose: Holding your nose while drinking wheatgrass juice may help block some of the bitterness.
- Rinse with lemon water: Rinsing your mouth with lemon water after drinking wheatgrass can help remove the aftertaste.
Taking wheatgrass juice as a shot and chasing it with a sweet juice can make it easier to tolerate as well. The key is finding ways to minimize the grassy, bitter taste that turns so many people off.
What Does Science Say About the Taste?
Scientific studies specifically looking at people’s taste perception of wheatgrass juice are lacking. But here are a few key points that research has uncovered so far:
- People have a natural aversion to bitter flavors – Studies show that most people are wired to dislike intensely bitter flavors like wheatgrass from birth. This instinct helped our ancestors avoid toxic plants.
- Not everyone experiences bitterness the same – Genetic differences affect taste bud density and bitterness receptors. Some people are “supertasters” who experience flavors more intensely.
- Acquiring a taste is possible – With repeated exposure, the brain can become desensitized to bitterness. So some people may start to enjoy wheatgrass over time.
So while many find wheatgrass repulsive at first sip, a subset of people may grow to like it after frequent consumption. But for most, the extreme bitterness remains off-putting even after multiple tries.
Health bloggers and influencers opinions on the taste
Health bloggers and influencers often promote the benefits of wheatgrass juice. Here are some of their candid thoughts on the notorious flavor:
“It tastes like I imagine grass would taste like, and leaves a similar ‘green’ aftertaste in my mouth.” – Healthful Pursuit
“There’s no dressing up the flavor: wheatgrass tastes like lawn trimmings smells.” – Wholefully
“Wheatgrass juice tastes like what I imagine cow food to taste like.” – The Healthy Maven
“Wheatgrass juice has an intense, concentrated flavor that is admittedly a huge turnoff for most people at first taste.” – Nutriflair
“I won’t pretend it tastes good though, because it doesn’t.” – Simple Green Smoothies
Even those who promote wheatgrass juice seem to acknowledge that its grassy, bitter flavor is an acquired taste at best. Most describe it as objectively unpalatable.
Reviews From Around the Web
Looking at reviews online from average consumers provides further insight into public perception of how wheatgrass juice tastes:
|Amazon||“This tastes like lawn clippings smell.”|
|Influenster||“The taste definitely takes some getting used to as it’s really earthy and bitter.”|
|Consumer Reports||“Wheatgrass juice tastes like grass, plain and simple.”|
|Bazaarvoice||“Has a very strong, leafy green flavor. Borderline disgusting for most.”|
|iHerb||“Wow this tastes terrible! Like drinking the smell of cut grass.”|
User feedback reinforces the notion that most people find wheatgrass juice unappealing or downright disgusting based on its potent, grassy bitterness. Only a small subset leave positive taste reviews.
How to Grow Your Own Wheatgrass
If you want to try juicing your own wheatgrass at home, growing it yourself can save money compared to buying pre-made wheatgrass juice. Here’s a quick overview of how to grow wheatgrass:
- Wheatgrass seeds – Choose hard winter wheat or spring wheat
- Tray or growing flat – Must have drainage holes
- Potting mix – Use fertile soil or seed starter mix
- Water – To keep soil moist
- Sunlight – Wheatgrass thrives in bright, direct light
Steps for Growing
- Fill tray or flat with drainage holes with potting mix about 1/2 inch deep
- Evenly distribute wheatgrass seeds across the soil surface
- Lightly cover seeds with another 1/4 inch layer of potting mix
- Water gently to moisten soil
- Place tray in bright, sunny area and water daily to keep moist
- Once sprouts are 2+ inches tall, cut off tops with scissors to juice
- Enjoy fresh wheatgrass juice within 20 minutes
With a bit of practice, it’s possible to have a consistent supply of wheatgrass for juicing. But note that homegrown wheatgrass still has a potent, bitter taste.
Wheatgrass juice undoubtedly contains an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. However, its medicinal benefits cannot make up for the overwhelmingly bitter, grassy taste that puts off most palates.
While a small subset of hardcore health enthusiasts have come to enjoy its flavor, the vast majority find fresh wheatgrass juice essentially undrinkable. Even wheatgrass fans acknowledge the need to mask its harsh taste with added sweeteners and mixer juices.
So while the unique nutritional profile of wheatgrass may seem tempting, don’t expect it to be a taste sensation. Unless you are already inclined toward bitter, vegetal flavors, wheatgrass juice likely will not satisfy your taste buds – no matter what the health food crowd claims.