Tea or coffee? The taste seems to be partly determined by genetics, according to a study carried out among Britons and published in the scientific journal Nature.
"This study uses a very large sample," to show that "a bitter perception affects the consumption of tea and coffee," Daniel Liang-Dar Hwang, from the Australian University of Brisbane, co-author of the study, told AFP. .
Paradoxically, people with greater sensitivity to the bitter taste of coffee are those who drink more.
This "shows that coffee consumers develop a feeling or ability to detect caffeine," said preventive medicine professor Marilyn Cornelis, a study co-author.
"Genetics plays a role that is slightly more important in bitter perception than sweet," explains Liang-Dar Hwang.
Perceived tastes are also influenced by our behavior. "Even if we humans naturally do not like bitterness, we can learn to appreciate bitter foods," explained the researcher.
"Coffee drinkers are generally less sensitive than tea drinkers for bitterness and are also more likely to appreciate this taste in other foods, such as green vegetables."
The study, based on genetic data from some 438,000 UK participants, for now "cannot be generalized to other countries and cultures," according to the authors.