Taste buds contain the receptors for taste.
They are located around the small structures on the upper surface of the tongue, soft palate, upper esophagus, the cheek, epiglottis, which are called papillae.
These structures are involved in detecting the five elements of taste perception: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami; through the combination of these elements we detect "flavors."
These tastes can be detected by any area of the tongue. Via small openings in the tongue epithelium, called taste pores, parts of the food dissolved in saliva come into contact with taste receptors. These are located on top of the taste receptor cells that constitute the taste buds. The taste receptor cells send information detected by clusters of various receptors and ion channels to the gustatory areas of the brain via the seventh, ninth and tenth cranial nerves.
On average, the human tongue has 2,000–8,000 taste buds.