Are you searing hot with a dollop of syrup? Or are you more on the frothy side with lots of whip?
We’re talking coffee orders, naturally. Coffee-shop stops are a must when anyone goes on the road (as Yahoo! has with its spring concert lineup — click here to find out how to catch the shows), so we got a little curious about what kinds of signals you give out when you order your freshly ground with Haribo peach gummy (yes, it’s a thing).
Not All Black and Milky White
The very notion of a coffeehouse is aspirational. In other words, what used to be a five-cent ritual at a diner has become a sign of middle-class affluence, here in the United States, and around the world. Ordering a coffee means you’ve arrived.
Authors James Moore and Judi James of “The You Code: What Your Habits Say About You” claimed that coffee choices go beyond taste: “With their foam, cream and sprinkle-topped options these drinks have been created to appeal on a much deeper psychological level relating to self-esteem, stress levels and search for the comforts of childhood.” The coffee code, paraphrased from “The You Code”:
- Espresso: Instant gratification, a quick hit, “the most grown-up of all coffee options,” cynicism, sarcasm, even an aggressive cool hunter. Disdains healthy lifestyles, is moody, and sets high standards, aiming for the leadership position with little time for gossip.
- Black coffee: No-frills, minimalist, cool adult, prefers one-on-one contact, competitive, quiet and moody, although capable of occasional bouts of extroversion.
- Latte: Watering down danger with milk and foam, prefers safety, wants to be liked, cutesy but conceivably stubborn inside, avoid direct confrontation and delegates the dirty work, a loyal family person, enjoys comfortable surroundings and gabbing with trusted friends. Sex is more snuggly than extreme.
- Cappuccino: Optimistic extrovert who appreciates style and nice stuff, although not unduly acquisitive. Prefers to start things rather than see them through with all that dull detail work.
- Instant coffee: No frills, straightforward, cheery but in no hurry to get things done, which might come across as shallow. Highs and lows come easily; not so adventurous in career or sex, but ponders both.
- Decaf soymilk: More of an eco-worrier rather than an eco-warrior. For those who aren’t allergic to cow’s milk, the choice may indicate a faux fussiness with a touch of sincere narcissism.
- Starbucks Frappuccino (and presumably other frothy whips): It’s all about the foam and the froth. Trendchaser more than a trendsetter and, ouch, characterized as a flighty poseur with no sense of irony.
- Non-coffee drinker: The authors reserve the unkindest cut of all for someone who rejects the black brew as being frightened of life and a child (an insult followed by a perhaps conciliatory section on “What Your Tea Says About You”).
Bigger Than a Hill of Beans
Some bean facts, courtesy of the National Coffee Association: More than 8 out of 10 Americans have copped to a cup of coffee in the past year, and half of those brews are gourmet. However, each generation — from the Greatest Generation to GenXers — apparently has been drinking less coffee than the previous one, and the average number of cups per American came to a boiling peak in the 1960s. The top consistent guzzlers among espresso drinkers? Hispanic-Americans.
As for coffee personalities, a 2007 study from a coffee maker listed what Americans would give up rather than forgo the cup of joe, which included morning news in all its forms, lunch, sleep, and brushing teeth. That same study also sketched out five java types:
- Social drinker (33 percent), who tend to live alone, so coffee break’s a community lifeline.
- Comfort lover (14 percent), who just likes warming his or hands on a hot mug.
- Coffee addict (14 percent), who needs coffee to survive. Intriguingly, those with higher incomes like to call their habits an addiction.
- Task master (11 percent), usually a younger drinker who needs coffee to focus
- Coffee gourmet (7 percent). While no age group is given here, younger folks go for the trends as well as flavored and iced coffees, while the older generations want the basic brew.
Silly? Sure. True? Who knows. How about giving your favorite order in comments below, and why you like your particular concoction?