What Do Oysters Taste Like? – A Thorough Review


Over the centuries, oysters have been one of the most popular delicacies. Many people have a strong preference for the mollusks and describe them as a kiss from the ocean.  

Yet, if you ask ten people their thoughts on the oyster flavor, you will get different answers! What do oysters taste like? Let this blog post tell you!

What Do Oysters Taste Like?

A raw oyster tastes salty, sweet, and likes butter/cream. Some carry hints of melon or cucumber. It has a plump, springy texture with its “shock of freshness.” 

These mollusks are compared to violets by Michel de Montaigne, while for James Beard, they are one of nature’s greatest joys for man to enjoy. They are the one-of-a-kind oysters that elicit deep conversations and contemplation that result in sensual delight!

The Difference Between East Coast and West Coast Oysters Taste

Oysters from different places have distinct flavors. So, what distinguishes East Coast and West Coast Oysters? We’ll explore the radical differences in the two types of oysters’ tastes below. 

West Coast Oysters

Off the coast of Canada and Alaska, oysters have a distinct salty flavor like melon or cucumber due to their colder water conditions. Those on the west coast enjoy sweet-tasting oyster varieties that are best served raw!

West coast oysters have a distinct salty flavor
West coast oysters have a distinct salty flavor

West coast oysters are divided into three types:

  1. Pacific: They have a sweet flavor that is similar to butter. They are also sometimes described as having the taste of fruit or vegetables due to their light but complex flavors.
  2. Kumamoto: Similar to their cousins, the Kumamoto, these oysters are small, come in a shell with a little bowl shape, and have a nutty flavor.
  3. Olympia: The wild Olympias west coast oyster is the rarest kind, native to only certain parts of the Pacific Northwest. These tiny specimens are about as big as a quarter. They have an intense flavor that’s somewhere between metallic and sweet.

East Coast Oysters

The east coast oysters vary by where they come from. The Long Island North oyster is mild, while Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Canada are brinier. There is only one East Coast Oysters species called Atlantic, making up 85% of all harvested US-based oysters.

East coast oysters have a brinier taste.
East coast oysters have a brinier taste

There exists a variety like Bluepoints and Wellfleet. East coast oysters have a more teardrop-shaped shell and saltier taste, with less of the sweet notes that west coast varieties are known for.

What Makes Oysters Taste Different?

For those who asked: “What do scallops taste like?” The answer is that they have a similar flavor to clams and oysters. However, some reasons make oysters taste different.


The flavor of an oyster relies on where people caught it. This is because the salinity levels in seawater play a vital role in an oyster’s saltiness.

Food Sources

Since oysters are derived from many varying regions, their ecosystems supply a variety of food sources. An oyster’s diet can impact whether they taste sweet or salty. 


The colder the water, the tastier and cleaner/sharper oysters. Water temperatures differ significantly from coast to coast, which is why New England catches have a cleaner, sharper flavor. So you’ll taste some of their best ones there!

The Oysters Taste Vocabulary 

If you are not an oyster aficionado, ordering the first raw oysters can be challenging as restaurants’ menus can have various types of oysters. Don’t worry! Here we give some of the important terms in oyster terminology when your waiter describes the oysters to you.

  • “Plump”- Oysters in nutrient-rich water develop fuller textures.
  • “Springy”- East Coast oysters are firm and typically plump.
  • “Sweet”- Instead of salty, it usually implies mild.
  • “Creamy”- This term describes butter oysters that are typically not as firm and salty compared with other varieties.
  • “Cucumber”- Cucumber-finished oysters from British Columbia.
  • “Copper”- Oysters having a pungent, acidic taste.
  • “Fresh Biscuits”- Beginner oysters have yet to develop a strong or salty flavor.

How To Taste Oysters In The Finest Way

Everyone has their own preferred way to eat these mollusks. Nevertheless, there are some best ways to really savor its taste. 

Six Steps of Professional Oyster Tasting:

  • SEE: Let your eyes feast! Examine the shell’s form and color.
  • SMELL: It should smell like the sea and be pleasant, not fishy.
  • SIP: To get a sense of the saltiness, take a sip of oyster liquor.
  • SLURP: Tilt the flat edge of the oyster’s shell to your lips and slurp! Don’t discard any liquor.
  • SAVOR: Chew on food for some time. Notice how your nose will start to taste salty, then your body will get sweet, and finally, there will be a lingering aroma.
  • SHELL: Turn the shell over to see the farmer’s and nature’s partnership.

To experience the true taste of an oyster, some people prefer to eat them without dressing. Horseradish sauce, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges are common additions for any seafood lover’s meal, but it is also fun to try one with nothing on it first!

Final Thoughts

What do oysters taste like?” is not an easy question to answer. Some describe them as briny with a slightly metallic aftertaste, while others might say oysters have an oceanic flavor with spicy saltiness and minerals on your tongue. 

If you have never eaten an oyster before, it may be worth your time to taste one. We hope this blog post was informative and helped answer any questions you had!


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