Caffeine conundrum: what coffee says about candidates

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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

 

  • Deb on 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 :)

  • Billy on 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

  • Lyn Bowker on 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)...ie; a capp with no fluff!

  • Jeevan Joshi on 30/03/2012 2:57:35 PM

    Are we back to reading tea leaves and coffee froth In the cuppa to recruit candidates ?

  • Lyn Bowker on 30/03/2012 2:58:50 PM

    PS ...but then I'm an ENTREPRENEUR not a candidate...perhaps Flat White is the preferred coffee for entrepreneurs then?

    I also tend to agree with the comments above - a rather pointless article and not one that I'd be using as a headline act. Sorry guys it must be a lean month!

  • Michael on 30/03/2012 3:00:26 PM

    Amusing article, but 'physicality' left me cold. I think we should leave reading into people via tea leaves, coffee drinking, food preferences etc well alone. I believe it lacks credibility and misses potentially not only a good point but also a good person. I drink lots of espresso and long black; and sometimes tea (black) which I guess explains my comments
    :-)

  • Jess Matthews on 30/03/2012 3:18:11 PM

    Ok I think everyone needs to get a sense of humour - the story is intended to be a bit 'lighter' for a Friday afternoon!

  • Therese on 13/04/2012 2:18:48 PM

    A good, light article. Thanks for the entertainment on my Friday afternoon! I'm off to get a cappuccino now.

  • Jo on 24/04/2012 3:57:21 PM

    Thanks for a quick, light read... Great afternoon CBF fodder with colleagues!

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