The Science Of The Snobs

As a barista in a chain cafe, I have felt the contempt from many a coffee snob.


Just smile and nod boys, smile and nod. 

Why does certain things cause people to become such snobs? Wine, coffee, music, films, dogs – the list goes on.

People can become snobby for a few psychological reasons

A study suggests that people with more money don’t need to rely on other people and relationships as much so are not as good as reading into social situations.

It is also suggested that people will buy things not always because they need these material items but rather because it makes them feel good about themselves. This helps with how you think of yourself.


People buy brands to help support their personal image

Maybe you only drink a certain type of coffee cause of the ethical reasons of the company, or maybe you use a certain technique because you are a person who likes doing things the ‘right way’. Or whatever you like to tell yourselves at least.

One major problem I have with snobby people is when they act like they know everything, and then put others down because of it. Especially because half the time people are just making stuff up anyway.

Take the example of wine.

It’s been shown that when ‘experts’ try wines that a lot of the time they don’t know what they are talking about.


We all have that friend that brings round the ‘fancy’ wine when all you really want to do is to down the bottle to forget the week you’ve just had. 

There was a study a few years ago that basically dyed the colour of the wine that the experts were tasting. These people got thrown off by these visual cues and described what they were seeing rather than the wine they were drinking.

This adaptation comes about as it is quicker for us to register threats when they are visually coming at us rather than smelling or hearing them.

But we are getting off track.

Science doesn’t have an exact definition or description of what it means to be a snob. We can somewhat agree however that it is some form of people thinking they are better than others for some reason or other.


I’m not normally a hipster…. I swear.

It is not only privileged people either who can exhibit this kind of behaviour. ‘Ingroup-outgroup bias’ can show the opposite where people who have less feel superior to those who have more.

This kind of snobbery needs others for it to occur though, so if you don’t feed into it then it will help reduce this. You know you aren’t inferior because you like instant coffee so don’t live up to that stigma. Own that instant gurl!

People get so hung up on how their coffee is that they forget the simple thing – it’s a nice drink, it’s social, warming and just damn tasty. Does it really matter where/how you get it??

So with that, I am now officially finished with my weekly blogging. I hope you enjoyed reading along and learning more with me. Next time you are enjoying a warm cuppa, think back to some fun science and the fact that it doesn’t matter who you are or what kind you are drinking, the coffee will always be tasty.



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Got the shakes?

Many people are addicted to their daily (or 3x daily) cup of coffee. You know when to avoid that person who is trying to reduce their caffeine intake. They are irritable, tired, anxious and just an all round horrible person to be around.


Gotta keep that caffeine intake up or watch out for Mr Grumps

Why does this happen and is coffee really truly addictive?

Prepare once more to… SCIENCE!

As we touched on briefly a few weeks ago – when you drink coffee the caffeine takes the places of that beautiful sleepy adenosine and means you have to eventually work harder and drink more coffee to keep your caffeine taking their place.

However, caffeine also helps increase the production of the dopamine and adrenaline inside your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which basically makes you feel good and stimulates you. It works to control your brain’s reward and pleasure centres.


Chemical structure of dopamine.

Because caffeine produces this good feeling inside of you, it means you just want to feel this way again and so you keep wanting to have it.

Dopamine is what helps coffee act as a stimulant as well. This acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system. However, there are other drugs that also work as stimulants, which lead to far bigger problems, like the drugs meth and ecstasy.


This drug wont cause self-destructive behaviour if you miss your daily dose

Caffeine is not a large enough producer of dopamine, which is why coffee is not actually seen as scientifically addictive but you will get negative withdrawal effects.

I mean think about it, going a day without coffee may suck but it isn’t going to threaten you physically, socially or economically.

NIDA describes addictions as “the uncontrolled (or compulsive) use of a substance even when it causes negative consequences for the person using it”.

So, you may get some negative effects but you can rationally go a day without a cup of coffee and not undertake destructive behaviour to get your next hit.

Photos from: (dopamine structure)

Coffee – it really gets you going.

Okay, we’ve been on this wee blogging adventure for a few weeks now. I feel like we are friends enough that we can approach this sensitive topic….

Why do we have to poop when we drink coffee??


Around 30% of people experience this effect. 

I’m sorry to say, I have bad news for you. No one actually knows the real reason that you get that urge to poop after your morning cuppa. However, there are some ideas floating around so I’m going to take you through some of these.

Studies have shown that only minutes (four to be exact) after having your morning coffee that your body starts to get moving. Again, no one is 100% sure why this happens. We know it isn’t due to the caffeine though, as the same effect has been seen when people drink non-caffeinated beverages.

Whatever it is in the coffee though, seems to activate your lower colon (also known as your distal colon). The coffee stimulates the productions of a hormone called gastrin, which is made in your tum. This hormone makes your stomach produce more acid which is a signal to your body that there are things to get rid of in there. It also seems to cause contractions of your stomach and intestines which has the same effect again.


What is totally inside your body right now (and reacting to that coffee you just had). 

You may think that drinking more coffee would cause you to eventually lose all control of your digestive system, but actually, the more coffee you drink the less this effect is seen. Not only this but regular coffee drinkers also become immune to the diuretic effect (coffee=peeing) and don’t pee anymore than non-coffee drinkers.

These results may also be due to a psychological effects of your daily routine. Say you get up in the morning and drink a cup o’ coffee and then need to poop – this could be solely down to the time of day and your everyday routine rather than the actual coffee in hand.


I’m hoping no one is using this as toilet reading material…

It’s also important to remember that milk can have this effect too on people who are intolerant to dairy – so this can be the cause in some people.

So, there you have it. Even if coffee doesn’t have this laxative effect on you – you know more now than you did four minutes ago.


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