Most of us fall in one of two camps — we’re either coffee people or tea people, and it’s not all too common to be a committed fan of both.
And according to researchers at Northwestern University, which drink you reach for comes down to your genes. If you crave the bitter taste of coffee, you’re more inclined to reach for a cup of brew, all thanks to a genetic variant that’s developed over centuries of coffee drinkers.
“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” said senior author Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a press release. “The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (i.e. stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”
If you’re able to taste the bitterness of coffee — and not all of us are prone to it — you’re more likely to crave it and to associate it with positive feelings and emotions.
If your tab at Starbucks or DavidsTea runs larger than the other, that might be a good sign of your preferences, but chances are you already know which you prefer. Whether it’s what your parents drank when you were growing up, or what cafe you have more frequent access to, it truly just comes down to your genetics.
As for your preference, both have very clear and powerful benefits. Black tea has been touted as a gut-friendly and healing superfood, regular coffee consumption has been tied to longevity and improved health. Tea has therapeutic benefits that range from mood boosting to stress reduction, while coffee can significantly speed up and power your metabolism.
The verdict? Both are powerful and hold possible benefits. It all just comes down to how our bodies are more likely to crave and taste it.