How Do You Take Your Coffee? What Your Coffee Says About You

Do you think people can figure out things about you based on your coffee preference? Behavior experts think it’s possible.

Even if you’re not an avid coffee lover and more of a casual coffee drinker, many believe that knowing how you take your coffee gives insight into your personality and other things about you that are completely unrelated to coffee consumption.

So, is there really a difference between someone who’s a black coffee drinker and someone who makes a nut milk latte with a hint of cinnamon?

Although it might seem silly to think there’s any truth to identifying a person’s deepest, darkest secrets based on their coffee drink, at least one study showed that there might be something to it. This article explores what your coffee says about you.

The Study

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In a study conducted in 2016 and published in the journal Appetite, researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria surveyed 1000 coffee drinkers and used the information to assess personality traits.

Analyzing the type of brewed coffee, the flavor, taste, any real or artificial sweeteners, and what they added into their coffee drink were all factors that were assessed in the study.

They found there were connections between coffee preferences that revealed how introverted, patient, sensitive, or bold a person was.

They also noticed that certain types of coffee preference indicated a person might be resistant to change or willing to try new adventures. They drew their conclusions based on the patterns they saw emerging. For example:

  • The majority of people who preferred their coffee black were patient, enjoyed simplicity, and were efficient. They tended to be moodier than other people, didn’t like change, and were more abrupt.
  • Those who liked coffee with milk or cream and sugar were people pleasers. They enjoy being comfortable, were generous with their time, and helpful. But they also tended to over-extend themselves and have a bit of a martyr streak.
  • Instant coffee drinkers were easy-going and more likely to procrastinate. Many had health issues and weren’t good at planning.
  • Blended or frozen coffee drinkers were outgoing, imaginative, and liked to try new things. But they also had issues with diet and lifestyle choices and tended to behave recklessly.
  • Those who prefer decaf, soy or other specialty milks, or specific preparation methods for their coffee were health-conscious, perfectionists, control freaks, sensitive, and hyper-concerned with rule following.

It’s easy to dismiss this study as being just a small sample size of coffee drinkers and therefore, more prone to accidentally identifying patterns of behavior. But this isn’t the only study that’s been done on coffee preferences.

The Review

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An assessment of the study determined that the original results weren’t as dark as they appeared.

In 2018, Steven Meyers, PhD, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University, examined the work of the Innsbruk researchers for accuracy.

He found the original study identified just a small association between a preference for bitter tastes and Machiavellian personality traits. Meyers encouraged people to take a caution approach to the original study results. The results of the assessment were published in Health and also determined:

  • Black coffee drinkers were light sleepers and introverts
  • Coffee drinkers who like cream are the opposite – heavy sleepers and extroverts
  • Sweetened coffee drinkers were equal parts introvert and extrovert who are heavy sleepers

Additionally, black coffee drinkers alone chose winter as their favorite month while all other types of coffee drinkers preferred summer. And as hard as it might be to believe, there were astrological consistencies.

Most of the people who prefer black coffee were born under the sign of Taurus. Coffee with cream had the most Aries, and sweetened coffee fans were mostly Leos.

This study even went as far as to link people’s coffee preferences to their favorite TV shows. Black coffee drinkers love Law & Order, while milk in coffee fans prefer Game of Thrones.

Additional traits present in those who like their coffee a certain way include:

  • Black coffee drinkers are usually morning people, like dogs, and are always punctual.
  • Sweetened coffee drinkers are also dog people and enjoy watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
  • Coffee with milk people like the morning and evening equally, and also like the show Big Little Lies.
  • And finally, if you like your coffee with a combination of milk and sugar, you’re likely a fan of The Big Bang Theory.

Do You Fit the Stereotypes?

Obviously, these aren’t full-proof measurements of who a person is or what personality traits they have. You might be able to predict how someone will behave if you know their coffee order, but the methodology isn’t perfectly scientific.

The best use of this information might be to speculate what a person will be like if you are on a first date or getting to know your new boss.

It’s also a great way to think about who you are and what you like and dislike about yourself. It’s natural to look at the list of personality traits listed here and compare the stereotypes to your own coffee preference. Do you like black coffee? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Did the prediction hold up?

You might even consider asking a friend or loved one what they think. If you like black coffee, but you see yourself as more of an extrovert, see if the people who know you best agree with that assessment. If they do, but you think otherwise, consider why that is.

Is the truth that you actually are introverted, but you wish you were extroverted? Is your shyness or extroversion something you don’t like or want to change about yourself?

Maybe your coffee preference can help you identify faults you’d like to work on. Are you someone who is predictably always late and is this something you’d like to improve?

Should You Change Your Coffee Order?

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If your coffee choice has revealed something about yourself that you’d like to change, should you start with your coffee order?

It depends.

Chances are, adding milk to your coffee or holding back on sugar probably won’t change your personality. You aren’t going to become more easy-going because you stop using soy milk.

On the other hand, if your goal is to become a healthier person who makes better lifestyle choices, changing your coffee order could help with that.

If your preference has been for high-sugar blended coffee beverages, switching to black or even lightly sweetened coffee is going to make you a healthier person. But this is only the case when it’s something related to your diet that you want to change.

Your personality might seem to change if you cut your sugar intake by several grams a day, but it’s actually the matter of eliminating your body’s reaction to a lot of sugar.

The same is true if you come up with the idea of easing someone into a new coffee preference because you actually want to change their personality. You aren’t going to mellow out your partner or make them more of an extrovert by serving their least favorite coffee recipe.

The Final Word on What Your Coffee Says About You

These studies are at best a curiosity, however anything that leads you to make a positive change following self evaluation can’t be all bad. Enjoy the concept and findings, then go pour yourself a cup of joe and relax!


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.