Australians love a good cuppa. Be it a cup of tea or coffee, we all have our favourite hot beverage of choice that makes Monday mornings easier and soothes a frazzled soul.
In fact, research by Roy Morgan found that the average Australian drinks around 9.5 cups of tea each week. On the other side of the fence, data gathered by McCrindle found that three quarters of Australians have at least one cup of coffee a day. And of those, 28 per cent drink three or more cups of coffee per day.
As you can see, we take our cuppa seriously.
However, it turns out that there is a real and scientific reason that you might choose to drink tea or coffee, and it all comes down to your DNA.
A recent study by the University of Queensland has found that our tolerance for the bitter flavours in both tea and coffee is directly linked to a specific set of genes. Furthermore, how many cups of tea or coffee we drink each day depends on how many of these genes we have, or don’t have. The authors of the study wrote:
“Bitterness is a taste sensation that arises when particular chemicals come into contact with receptors in specialised cells on the human tongue. But not everyone perceives the same bitterness for a given stimulus; this individual variation is partially genetically determined and can affect food perception, preferences and intake.”
The ingredients that give tea and coffee their bitter flavours are caffeine, quinine, and propylthiouracil (PROP). People who have the bitter taste receptors for quinine or PROP tend to love drinking multiple cups of tea a day, while those who have the taste receptors for caffeine are more likely to be coffee-addicts.
So, whether or not you love tea or coffee actually comes down to the genes you’ve inherited, and the taste receptors you’ve developed!
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