Caffeine conundrum: what coffee says about candidates

by 30 Mar 2012

If you choose to conduct your next interview or one-on-one meeting at a nearby coffee shop, try not to judge your companion on the size of their coffee.  You may, however, want to note the type of coffee they’re having – for coffee, say some, can give an insight into character

While many cultural norms associate larger products with greater status—for instance, the size of a vehicle, house, or TV – new research has for the first time indicated a strong correlation between perceived status of an individual and the portion size of the beverage or food item they consume in front of others.

Published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers tested whether or not consumers used the size of food products to express their status. ‘Vulnerable’ consumers were found to be the most prone to try and boost their status through the size of their beverage or food item in an attempt to compensate for their undesirable position in society.

One of the researchers’ experiments confirmed, however, that most people do equate larger sizes of food options with greater status. For example, participants perceived that people drinking a large coffee had more status than someone who chose medium or small, even when the price was the same.

In other experiments, the authors found that participants actually chose larger smoothies when they were at a social event than when they were alone. Perhaps all that self-consciousness made them thirsty. 

Coffee and character

Body language experts Judi James and James Moore reckon your companion’s choice of coffee provides an insight into their personality. In their book, The You Code, they identify the following caffeine-correlated characteristics:

 The espresso drinker

  • "the unfiltered cigarette of the coffee drinking world"
  • hard-working but moody
  • likes to lead and achieve things quickly
  • not very reliable or loyal

 The black coffee drinker

  • "a difficult but potentially rewarding friend, colleague or partner" 
  • minimalist – takes an uncluttered and direct approach
  • quiet and moody but occasionally extrovert

 The latte drinker

  • tries to please; has an overwhelming compulsion to be liked
  • typically a metrosexual or cuddly-toy collector
  • may be immature

 The cappuccino drinker

  • optimistic, bored by detail, materialistic
  • "Cappuccino froth gives the tongue the mother of all workouts and is all to do with the physicality of the experience rather than the basic consumption of the beverage."

 The instant coffee drinker

  • cheerful, straight forward type, has a good sense of humour, dislikes pretense
  • unadventurous in career choices
  • needs to let others see the hidden depths in their personality

 The decaf soy milk drinker

  • self-righteous, picky, fusses over details
  • seeks attention pretentious, high-maintenance, pretentious
  • "If caffeine gives palpitations and cow's milk brings you out in spots there's little hope for you in the cockroach society that is city dwelling"

 The frappucino drinker

  • flighty and shallow
  • will try anything once, often has short relationships
  • favours style over substance



Top Lighter Side



  • by Deb 30/03/2012 2:41:49 PM

    What about all of us who don't drink coffee? Do hot chocolate drinkers line up with the cappucino drinkers (for the froth) or should we be seen as staunchly individual? I don't care really, just get frustrated by the assumption that everyone drinks coffee :)

  • by Billy 30/03/2012 2:46:55 PM

    What a completely pointless article, based on pseudo-scientific "research". I could take an characteristic from each of the coffees that describe me...but I prefer tea

  • by Lyn Bowker 30/03/2012 2:56:10 PM

    Feeling quite left out of the Coffee Conundrum...
    I only drink Flat White (made with full cream milk); a capp with no fluff!