Cardi B's clearly having a normal one, having tweeted at 8:06 a.m. one of the most pressing questions of human existence. "I wonder how pee taste like ?," she wrote, with the important follow-up "I’m not hacked I just wonder if it got a bland taste or is it salty." As we look onward onto our day, we can't pretend like the question will just leave us: after all, who among us has not wondered the very same thing, in what might just be our most shameful of thoughts?
Cardi, you are definitely not alone. The question "what does pee taste like" makes up pages and pages of inquiries on Quora, Reddit, Yahoo Answers, bodybuilding forums, and basically anywhere anyone can post on the internet with even the slightest veneer of privacy. Most of us, however, leave that question as a stupid shower thought, not something we'd actually do.
What does pee taste like?
While we're still not doing, uh, that for the sake of "journalism," plenty of bold souls have given pee drinking a shot, from Man vs. Wild's Bear Grylls to "urine therapy" devotees, who drink pee as a pseudo-health elixir, to urophiles, who just have a kink for it, to the folks over at BuzzFeed because the world of content is a vampire. In the ancient times and Middle Ages, physicians judged health and diagnosed diseases by taking, yup, sips of pee, using urine flavor wheels not unlike today's coffee tasting wheels to identity pee's many flavor profiles. From these centuries of brave work, we can, at the very least, find the best descriptions of what pee actually tastes like. Here they are.
The consensus seems to be that pee tastes salty, which seems kinda like what you'd expect.
- "It’s overrated is what I know. It tastes terrible, warm, salty," reported Bear Grylls in 2015.
- According to an 1883 article in the Cincinnati Lancet and Clinic, pee has a "bitterish, disagreeable flavor" and a "saline taste."
- "…the taste of urine has been recognized, and which is said to be saline, bitter, piquant, and disagreeable," wrote the Eclectic Medical Journal in 1869.
- "While many people have claimed some beers or wines tastes like pee, urine is actually reported by some to taste salty (due to the salts and chemicals being filtered by your kidneys)," claims Urine Colors, a website that helps people analyze what their pee color means.
- "Bitter and salty. Sort of like earwax," said someone on Reddit.
- "Umami," according to a Twitter poll by the band Kali Masi.
Health conditions and diets can make pee taste different—in some cases, better, it seems.
- Diabetes made pee taste "wonderfully sweet, like sugar or honey," according to physicians around the 17th century.
- "The taste of normal urine as saltish bitter, but the flavor varies very much in disease, being sometimes as sweet as honey—in diabetes; and at other times as bitter as gall—in icterus," said the 1872 book The Urine and its Derangements.
- As Sir Henry Wellcome mentioned in the 1911 book The Evolution and Development of Urine Analysis, Sanskrit medicine has its own classifications for urine, including "iksumeha" which tastes "very sweet" and has a "cold, sticky, opaque" texture like sugarcane juice, and the "astringent, sweet, white, and sharp" tasting "madhumeha," or "honey urine."
- But according to someone in a urine therapy Facebook group, "Eat beef and fries and ur urine will taste like ass."
And there are others for whom the taste of pee seems, well, a little reaching—like Fabian Farquharson, a proponent of urine therapy, who told British tabloid The Sun in March, "It was comparable to the taste of bitter ale initially and it felt a bit like the first time I tried beer."
There you have it: salty, bitter, and kinda gross. These people did it, and now you never, ever have to try it yourself. You're welcome, Cardi.