There's A Reason Why You're Either A Coffee OR Tea Lover

Which do YOU prefer?!

Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

19 November 2018

Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

Article heading image for There's A Reason Why You're Either A Coffee OR Tea Lover

Are you a coffee or tea drinker who either a) always tries to push their mates to become a coffee or tea drinker, or b) doesn’t get how someone loves coffee, because you drink tea, or loves tea, because you drink coffee?

Well, it turns out the personal preference you carry isn’t just something you’ve developed because of the ‘crowd’ you hang with. 


According to a new study published in BMC Biometrics, there’s a scientific reason behind your preference and it’s linked to the presence or absence of genes that are key to shaping how bitter flavours taste to us. 

The study explained that bitter taste receptor genes are responsible for how we perceive caffeine, quinine and man-made substance propylthiouracil (PROP), which are all substances commonly found in tea and coffee that make them taste bitter. 

The study unveiled new findings to show how our genes play a part in determining which of these beverages we prefer!

More than 400,000 men and women between 37 and 73 were studied to analyse their coffee and tea habits. Data on their bitter receptor genes was also collected. 


The results?

Coffee Drinkers

Those who carried bitter taste receptors for caffeine were found to be heavy coffee drinkers, drinking more than four cups per day!

For each extra copy of this gene, people were 20% more likely to be a heavy coffee drinker, who drank less tea.  

They also found that those who are better at detecting caffeine thanks to this gene found coffee more rich and enjoyable, as they could better perceive its texture and strength. 

Tea Drinkers 

Those who carried bitter taste receptors for PROP or quinine drank more tea than coffee. 

When compared to the average person, those with an extra copy of the PROP or quinine receptor gene had a 4% or 9% increased chance of being a heavy tea drinker, consuming more than 5 cups a day!

These drinkers tend to be more sensitive to bitterness. 


Other studies have found that inherited factors play a role in how much tea or coffee a person drinks a day, as well as their ability to digest caffeine. 

The researchers made note that even if you’re someone who hates the taste of coffee or bitter things now, as you grow older your tastes change.

This explains why we used to hate coffee or tea as a kid, but now love it!


You can read more about the study HERE.


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