If you’ve ever been on a coffee date with someone who chose black coffee over the typical indulgent caffeinated creation, you might want to take your latte and run. Apparently, you’re on a date with a psychopath. (These magic phrases can save awkward conversations.)
A 2015 study from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that people who prefer their coffee black often have psychopathic or sadistic tendencies. (Look out for these six telltale signs someone is lying.)
The study, published in the journal Appetite, surveyed over 1,000 adults about their flavour preferences. They also took four different personality tests that assessed machiavellian traits like narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, and aggression.
Researchers found a trend that suggested a correlation between preferences for black coffee, and other bitter tastes, and sadistic or psychopathic personality traits.
They also found that people who enjoyed milky or sugary coffee, and other sweet flavours, generally tended to have more “agreeable” personality traits like sympathy, co-operation, and kindness. (These 12 real life stories demonstrate the life-changing power of a single selfless act.)
The closest correlation found in the study was between bitter foods, like radishes and tonic water, and “everyday sadism,” or the enjoyment of inflicting moderate levels of pain on others.
The researchers went further, suggesting that this association between bitter foods and psychopathic tendencies could “become chronic” and get worse with time.
Not a great first impression.
But there is hope for you and your casual coffee date. The researchers made it clear that “bitter” is an extremely subjective term, and that may have limited their study. They also are unsure of what causes the correlation between bitter tastes and disagreeable personality traits.
It’s also important to note that taste preferences are intensely influenced by our culture and personal experiences—not entirely by our personality traits—and that taste preferences often change over time. Remember when you couldn’t stand the taste of veggies as a kid? Most people don’t even like coffee the first time they try it!
Black coffee drinkers are also more health-conscious, even if they don’t know it. Pure coffee has all kinds of amazing health benefits, while milk and sugar obviously don’t. People who drink their coffee black reap all the health benefits of coffee without any added fat or calories.
So while you’re on your coffee date, just remember that not all psychopaths like black coffee. But most people who like black coffee exhibit psychopathic tendencies. See the difference?
Bottom line, maybe skip the coffee altogether and just go for dinner and a movie instead.
Originally published as Bad News, Coffee Drinkers: You’re Probably a Psychopath if You Like Your Coffee Black on ReadersDigest.com.