blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Coffee tasting gene in humans?

A researcher at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Craig Montell, has found that there is a specific gene in fruit flies, gene Gr66A, that made them avoid the bitter taste of caffeine. When the gene was removed, the fruit flies willingly drank caffeine-laced liquids. This gene apparently is related specifically to the caffeine response, not bitter compounds in general.

read full article from united kingdom times online

I frequently encounter individuals who just don't drink coffee, never have, never will. And those of us who do drink it, generally drink it frequently and really enjoy it. When I am meeting someone for the first time, I will generally know within the first 30 seconds of our interaction which category they fall into (because they usually feel compelled to let me know where they stand, after I tell them what I do for a living).

Like yesterday. I met two vehement non-coffee drinkers. First, Bill Klonaris, the owner of Mazda Saab of Bedford, who is opening a drive thru coffee station. Bill doesn't drink coffee, and has no interest in starting. Then, the truck driver who was delivering a load of Fair Trade beans to our roastery, remarked on the great aroma in the place. He loves the smell of roasted coffee, but can't stand brewed coffee. He was quite vehement about it. He then went on to tell me that he also loves the smell of gasoline. And, he said, he loves the smell of matches. Hmmm.... then I started to wonder about him.

When I meet a non-coffee drinker, I usually tell them that there is hope; they can start with cafe mocha, then work their way to lattes, then drip coffee, then espresso. It can happen; that's how my coffee drinking progressed as an adolescent. But my experience with adults actually proves otherwise, I only have a few vague impressions of adults who have described any kind of coffee drinking conversion. Montell's findings suggest that if humans have a similar gene, there may be a very biological reason for this divide in the population.


Blogger LibraryTavern Liz said...

I used to drink coffee on occasion and then I frequently drank flavored coffee, but I didn't become an every day regular coffee junkie until my mid to late 20's. But I have always loved the smell of coffee.

11:39 PM, November 28, 2006  

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