Tea Or Coffee? Your Cuppa Of Choice Is In Your Genes
We spill the tea.
Have you ever wondered why some people are staunch tea-drinkers, while others are die-hard coffee fans?
There's a lot of brew-haha over which camp you're in.
Turns out we don't have much say in our hot bevvy preferences -- they're hardwired into our very DNA.
A recent study out of the University of Queensland revealed that our tolerance -- or lack there of -- for the bitter-tasting substances in both coffee and tea is related to a particular set of genes.
Not only that, the presence or absence of these genes determines how many cups of coffee or tea we throw back a day.
The main players that give coffee and tea their bitterness are caffeine, quinine -- you might know it from tonic water -- and a man-made substance called propylthiouracil (PROP) that also give Brussels sprouts their unique taste.
A new study of 400,000 UK coffee and tea drinkers found that people who had the bitter taste receptor for caffeine in particular were more likely to be heavy coffee drinkers (that's four-plus cups a day).
There's also a subset of people called caffeine "super tasters," who have extra copies of the caffeine gene. They're about 20 percent more likely to be a coffee addict.
If tea is more your jam then you likely have the bitter taste receptors for quinine or PROP instead. Again, double-ups of these two genes tends to mean you're more likely to slurp down five or more cuppas a day.
If a quinine/PROP super taster does have a caffeine craving they'll probably still choose to satisfy it with tea over coffee, even thought the latter has more caffeine.
Why? Say it with us now: it's in their genes. People who carry the bitter taste receptors for quinine or PROP tend to be more sensitive to overall bitterness.
But we can't blame everything on our DNA. Our tastes can and indeed likely will change over our lifetime.
Remember all the foods you used to hate as a kids? We're willing to bet that you eat at least one of them now.
Same goes for coffee and tea. Just because you have the 'wrong' genes doesn't mean you won't grow to tolerate, or even love, that hot cup of Joe or English Breakfast you swore you'd never touch.