Why taste for coffee is all in the genesBy Mark Henderson, Science Editor
A TASTE for espresso in the morning may be genetic, according to research that has identified the first known receptor cells for caffeine.
Scientists have discovered that a single protein determines whether fruit flies eat sugar laced with caffeine or avoid its bitter taste.
It is not yet known whether the gene that controls production of the protein, Gr66a, has a similar effect in humans, but the discovery of a caffeine receptor does suggest that a taste for coffee is likely to be affected by genes.
Despite their fondness for human foods, Drosophila fruit flies normally avoid caffeine because of its bitter taste. When the scientists removed the Gr66a gene from the flies, the flies overcame their dislike of caffeine. Without the Gr66a protein, the flies seem to have been unable to taste caffeine.
Craig Montell, who led the research at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, said: “The bottom line is that our mutant flies willingly drink caffeine-laced liquids and foods because they can’t taste its bitterness — their taste receptor cells don’t detect it.”
The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Current Biology, ran tests on the flies’ brains to prove that the change originated in the flies’ taste bristles, the equivalent of human taste buds. Neurons attached to the bristle cells showed activity in response to caffeine only in the flies with a working receptor.
Professor Montell said that Gr66a was not a “general sensor” for bitter compounds “but is required more specifically for the caffeine response”.
hehe, that sure explain alot for my caffeine addiction. Mum is to be blamed, my very 1st coffee tasting took place in Starbucks at Pacific Shopping Centre near my home and since then i am hopelessly addicted to coffee. mum calls me the kopi ong . I know, a true coffee lover will be horrified at the very thought of Starbucks coffee or instant coffee but till i pay my pilgrimage to Italian or French or Turkey coffee (shld b Ethopia coz that's where coffee originate frm), i will never noe the difference. plus instant coffee are much more cheaper. at least now i do noe the difference between cappucino, latte, mocha, espresso (beginners avoid this, may sound posh but the sight of the tenny weeny portion is enough to make ur heart bleed, not to mention the pure bitterness, tried warning a fren once but he turned a deaf ear) and macchiato(espresso n foam milk only, i zhong4 zao1 too)
people would pack their luggages full of clothings or food (esp instant noodles) but mine, hehe, is stuffed full of instant coffee mix as u can see frm the pic. BMW expresso, ginseng coffee, old town hazelnut coffee an 343 Cai Ji coffee from Johor. i will DIE without coffee.
on an average day i will down 3 cups of coffee, 1 after i wake up, 1 for breakfast, and 1 at tea break. no worries, instant coffee is low in caffeine, as long as i dun drink more then 3 cups it's perfectly ok and i still can live till 100 years old (housefly fossil). Even after i have my daily shot i still itch for one whenever i smell coffee. hmm, hope i wont die of coffee overdose (though tt will be a rather nice way of dying=p).
to tell the truth, the smell of coffee is much nicer than the actual taste of coffee. duno y, sometimes i experience a disappointment after taking a sip coz the taste does not always match up to the smell that 1st allure me to the coffee. shldnt use the term ' drink ' coffee, it shld be 'smell' coffee. wonder do they sell coffee perfume?
Ytd May treated me to my very 1st cup of coffee in posh shop in town. ahhhhhhhhh, i was so happy~! thank you May may=) find 1 day treat u back ya. love making a milk moustache after taking a sip of brewing hot capuccino.
this summer when i went back to Johor to visit my granparents, mum brought me to Cai Ji coffee shop for a drink, there was a variety of choices and i wld have loved to try every one of it but can only drink one nia, so chose a cinnamon flavoured coffee (as i mentioned b4 i m all for anything with cinnamon) the coffee is quite nice but the cake...speaking of cakes, non that i tasted b4 can beat the cakes my Phey Yee used to bake for me=)
dream of learning how to roast coffee beans in europe. envy my fren who worked part time at Coffee Bean this summer. shall study very very hard, make loads and loads of $$$ , then go travel around the world trying diff coffee from every country. someday i wanna open my own coffee shop, housefly's kopitiam.