The type of coffee you order may reveal more about your personality than you think.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula recently conducted an observational study of 1,000 coffee drinkers. The survey assessed numerous common personality styles and psychological traits including introversion and extraversion; patience; perfectionism; warmth; vigilance; sensitivity; and social boldness, among others.

What did the survey reveal about different coffee drinkers’ personalities?

In the survey, which is described in Dr. Durvasula’s book entitled You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life, people were given common scenarios that we all find ourselves in: how we approach waiting in long lines, how we plan dinner parties or what our typical weekends look like. Participants were asked to choose from a series of approaches to these scenarios. The survey also asked if they drink coffee and what they typically ordered. The results were not that surprising.

Take a look at this coffee summary that was compiled from his book, and see where you might fall: At the same time, while the results are interesting and perhaps spot on to some degree, don’t take the results to heart, as some people may fall in between, and certain personality types might not jive with how one drinks their coffee on a daily basis.

DrinkPersonality TraitsThe Light SideThe Dark Side
Black coffee
  • Old school
  • Purist

  • Keep things simple
  • Patient
  • Efficient
  • Can be quiet and moody
  • Abrupt and dismissive
  • Sort of set in their ways
  • Resistant to making changes
Latte drinkers (folks who add milk/cream and sugar)
  • Comfort seekers
  • People pleasers
  • Open book
  • Like to soften the bitterness of life (like they soften the bitterness of coffee)
  • Generous with time
  • Will go out of their way to help others
  • Can get over-extended
  • Don’t always take great care of themselves
Frozen/ blended coffee drinks
  • Try lots of new things
  • Socially bold
  • Trendsetters
  • Childlike
  • Spontaneous
  • Imaginative
  • Fall for quick fixes
  • Don’t always make healthy choices
  • Can be reckless
Decaf/ soy milk/ Very specifically ordered coffee
  • Like being in control
  • May be labeled selfish
  • Obsessive
  • Perfectionist
  • Very aware of their health and bodies
  • Monitor their health
  • Tend to make healthy choices
  • Overfocus on rules, control and order
  • Overly sensitive
  • Tend to be worriers

Instant coffee
  • Traditional in some ways
  • Laid back
  • Procrastinate
  • Take life as it comes
  • Don’t get too lost in details
  • Too laid back
  • Put things off and may neglect basic health issues
  • Poor planners

Research found that the black coffee drinkers were straight up, straightforward and no-nonsense individuals. The double decaf, soy, extra-foamy folks tended to be more obsessive, controlling, and detail-oriented. The latte drinkers tended more toward neurotic and people-pleasing, while the instant coffee drinkers had a greater likelihood of being procrastinators. Finally, those individuals who order sweet drinks were the overgrown kids who retained the taste buds and sensibilities of children, while being young at heart.

As Dr. Durvasula notes, despite the interesting and impressive qualitative research that was gathered “we are no more defined by our coffee orders than we are by our astrological signs.” It is quite possible you may be a controlling latte drinker or a Type A black coffee drinker. If people were so easy to pigeonhole, life would not only be boring, but less complicated and challenging as well.

In a larger sense, though, the choices we make in life often speak volumes about us. Sometimes we make “choices” without thinking like robots. Sometimes our choices in life essentially shape who we are for better or worse. People pleasers, who may try to manage the bitterness of coffee with a little milk, may also try to please others, which can be dangerous if one is always selfless and unassertive when communicating their needs, wants and desires.

Our personalities influence all spheres of our lives — our relationships, our jobs, our perceptions, our attitudes — and obviously will influence our choices. Some people are afraid of making the wrong choice, so in the interim feel safer choosing inaction, which speaks louder than any potential decision rendered.

And sometimes our personalities can make change harder. While some people with certain personality styles (e.g. those higher in openness) may embrace new things and new paths, others do not, and that can make instituting health changes, or any change, more challenging. As a result, a person may end up wanting to quit rather than taking a moment to see the connection between her personality and her choices. It may require mindfulness to push through certain personality styles, but armed with that knowledge, it may help any of us feel in better command of any behavior changes.

The book addresses the concept of choice and how it is influenced by multiple factors: biology, other people, fear and temperament (or personality). Our choices can sometimes feel less like choices and more like something that happens to us. Does that mean personality is destiny? Not at all, according to the author. In fact, “the very definition of resilience is your ability to jump out of type when needed.”

So stretch out your psyche from time to time, and become a little less resistant to change. Perhaps a great, albeit small, place to start is changing up your usual order next time you go out for coffee. Or, the next time you are in the driver’s seat, don’t be so quick to fire up your GPS.

Learn to let go, relax, and get lost sometimes. It is mentally healthy to break out of our rut and routine at times. Although research shows a semblance of routine keeps us balanced and sane, sometimes it’s nice to veer off the road and order your unusual cup of joe.