9 Reasons You Might Take Your Coffee Black, Other Than Being A Psychopath

A recent study published in the journal Appetite, which links liking bitter things like black coffee to having psychopathic traits, and liking sweet things to, well, being sweet, is swiftly making the internet rounds.

In two studies, we investigated how bitter taste preferences might be associated with antisocial personality traits. Two US American community samples (total N = 953; mean age = 35.65 years; 48% females) self-reported their taste preferences using two complementary preference 36 measures and answered a number of personality questionnaires assessing Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, everyday sadism, trait aggression, and the Big Five factors of personality. The results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy. Regression analyses confirmed that this association holds when controlling for sweet, sour, and salty taste preferences and that bitter taste preferences are the overall strongest predictor compared to the other taste preferences. The data thereby provide novel insights into the relationship between personality and the ubiquitous behaviors of eating and drinking by consistently demonstrating a robust relation between increased enjoyment of bitter foods and heightened sadistic proclivities.

I find this all somewhat dubious — both because I find this sort of science kind of suspicious in general, but also because I actually happen to like black coffee. I don’t drink it as much as I used to because it does give me agita, but it took me pretty much forever to get used to half ‘n’ half, and too much still makes me gaggy. Also, I generally do not like sweets and would very much prefer eating a jar of pepperoncini peppers to eating a slice of cake. To be entirely honest, if I had to guess which of my food and drink preferences marked me for abnormal personality traits, I would guess it would be my tendency to put hot sauce on almost everything I eat. 

Our weekend editor Katrin also enjoys black coffee, as does my best dude friend — and I assure you that none of us are jerks, nevermind actual psychopaths.

As thorough as I’m sure this online study was, I am pretty sure there are other reasons one might prefer black coffee other than being a psychopath. Because even if a majority of psychopaths prefer their coffee black, I just don’t think that could possibly mean anything for those non-psychopaths out there who, much like Agent Dale Cooper, like their coffee black as midnight on a moonless night.

1. You are lactose intolerant.

2. You are Dale Cooper.

dale cooper coffee

3. You drink espresso.

4. You just prefer the consistency of coffee without cream.

5. You want people to think you are hardcore.

6. You want an excuse to explain to others “how you like” your men.

7. Because your nerves have gone to pieces, your hair is turning grey, and all you do is drink black coffee, since your man’s gone away.

8. It’s early in the morning, about a quarter to three, and you’re just sitting there talking with your baby, over cigarettes and coffee. And if Otis Redding didn’t need cream and sugar, neither do you.

9. You actually just like the taste of coffee and yet are also capable of empathy, somehow.

[Appetite]