Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Black coffee lovers, science says you all share this unusual personality trait

black coffee.png

Ah, black coffee: there’s just something so impossibly glamorous about taking your morning cuppa as “black as night” (and “sweet as sin”, to quote Neil Gaiman).

When you ditch the dairy, all of those gloriously bitter, roasted, smooth flavours are amplified to the max – and the caffeine hits your system just that extra bit quicker, making it the bevvy of choice for any dedicated night owl.

But, as it turns out, there’s an even darker side to our dark drink than we realised.

Yup, you guessed it: people who take their coffee black are far more likely to be psychopaths.

Read more: Here’s how to sample this year’s hottest (and hippest) coffee trends

study published in the journal Appetite, has found a genuine correlation between your average cuppa joe and “everyday sadism” (aka a desire to see or inflict pain upon others).

To come up with these results, researchers asked more than 1,000 adults to give their food and flavour preferences.

They were then asked to complete four separate personality questionnaires, which measured their levels of aggression, Machiavellianism, emotional stability and tendency towards ‘everyday sadism’.

This involved rating on a scale how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “When making fun of someone, it is especially amusing if they realise what I'm doing” and “I enjoy tormenting people”.

Read more: This infographic teaches you how to perfectly make 38 types of coffee

Somewhat worryingly, people who enjoy black coffee tend to be far more likely to display “malevolent personality traits”.

And it’s not just espresso addicts that fall under this umbrella: this is also true of folks who enjoy gin and tonics, radishes, dark chocolate, celery and citrus fruits.

Do you take your coffee black?

Do you take your coffee black?

It’s not the first experiment that’s proven a correlation between taste and personality: in 2011, researchers revealed that people who enjoy all things sweet tend to be more agreeable, friendly and compassionate than those who don’t.

“Our results suggest there is a robust link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior,” study researcher Michael D. Robinson, of North Dakota State University, said at the time.

“Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people’s behaviours and personality traits.”

All in all, it seems as if we really are what we eat (and drink) – although it’s worth remembering that being a psychopath ain’t all bad.

Read more: 13 unusual coffee orders for serious caffeine nerds

Oxford research psychologist Kevin Dutton has found that their bold temperaments makes psychopaths more likely to be intelligent, assertive, cool under pressure, and far less likely to procrastinate – which naturally makes them strong leaders.

That’s certainly given us food for thought. We’re off to nibble on a chocolate bar, if you need us…

Images: iStock


sleep heatwave.jpg

Why a hot drink before bed is the key to sleeping in a heatwave

lisa judrow phoebe buffay.jpg

Friends creator finally responds to dark theory about Phoebe Buffay


These 30 little everyday things are guaranteed to lift your spirits


Sign up to our mouth-watering food and drink email

24 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Costa are bringing doughnut lattes to London for two days only

There are all sorts of crazy coffee combinations to be had

by Megan Murray
21 Sep 2017

Colin the Caterpillar has been given a cute Christmas makeover

We only just got over Halloween Colin – now Santa Colin is in town

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Sep 2017

Nutella's newest product sounds like all kinds of deliciousness

Nutella feasting can now happen any time, any place

by Megan Murray
20 Sep 2017

Cookie dough fans, your perfect store is coming to London

We HAVE to try the cookie dough clouds

by Megan Murray
19 Sep 2017

Unicorn cereal has arrived and breakfast will never be the same again

And here’s where you can buy it

by Susan Devaney
18 Sep 2017

These are our favourite gluten-free cakes, snacks and ingredients

From cakes to biscuits to beer and sausages

18 Sep 2017

Vegan Baileys will finally arrive in the UK this week

Here’s everything you need to know

by Megan Murray
18 Sep 2017