Brown University

Why bitter tastes (and genetics) may make you drink more coffee

Why bitter tastes (and genetics) may make you drink more coffee

Marilyn Cornelis has been thinking about coffee for most of her life. As a child, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine preventive medicine professor watched her father down cup after cup — “a couple of pots a day” and made a game of daring her siblings to lick the spoon he used to stir it. “It was so bitter to us,” she says, her voice still registering a little of the face-twisting shock.

That reaction to bitter tastes is universal, and it’s coded into our DNA — at a time when human beings needed to constantly seek food to sustain life, an aversion to bitter tastes kept people from jamming poisonous things into their mouths as they sought to stave off hunger....

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