Coffee: Should You be Drinking it Based on Your Genes?

Being aware of your specific genes can help you make more informed decisions about the foods and exercises that are right (or wrong!) for your body—all of which can help prevent health problems later down the road.*

Written by: Jamie July 29, 2019

What do genes have to do with coffee?

Did you ever wonder why some people prefer very dark coffee while others think is tastes horrible? It has very little to do with your love of caffeine—it is your genes! The gene TAS2R38 is responsible for taste preferences like this one.[1] Specifically, it can affect the ability to taste bitterness in food. If you have it, you probably prefer your coffee to be a darker roast since you can taste the bitterness.

You are probably wondering what loving dark roast coffee has to do with caffeine. Contrary to what most people think, dark coffee has less caffeine than lighter roasts. The roasting process destroys some of it, so if you are really looking for that boost, stick with a light roast!

  • But how do you know if more caffeine is a good idea for you? The CYP1A2 gene is responsible for metabolizing caffeine. You can be a slow, normal, or fast caffeine metabolizer.[2] Keep in mind this gene only influences the breakdown of caffeine in your body and does not influence individual tolerances or interactions based on other health conditions.

What is a Normal Metabolizer?

People with a normal metabolism take about 45 minutes to absorb 99 percent of caffeine. That’s why you don’t feel the boost right away! It takes four to five hours for half of that caffeine to be used an removed by your body.


What is a Slow Metabolizer?

If you are a slow metabolizer you absorb the caffeine at a steadier pace, so the effects last longer in your body. You might notice you have greater problems with anxiety or stomach upset, or even problems sleeping since the caffeine remains in your body longer. It could also mean you don’t feel the effects from caffeine as much since your body absorbs it so slowly. This results in many slow metabolizers drinking more coffee looking for that coveted “boost.” A slow metabolizer has to be careful with caffeine intake though, since it can mean you are at a higher risk of potentially serious health issues like non-fatal heart attacks and high blood pressure.[3,4]

What is a Fast Metabolizer?

Fast metabolizers process caffeine at a much faster rate than normal, which means it absorbs more quickly and may give you a greater tendency to get jittery or hungry. The effects also wear off more quickly, so if you have this gene version, you might be able to consume caffeinated beverages much later in the day without it affecting your sleep. Coffee has been shown in studies to have health benefits if you are in this group like a decreased risk of heart attacks.[3]

What can you do about it?

  • Get your genes tested with Secret Sequence!
  • Discuss your caffeine intake with your doctor, especially if you have other health conditions like high blood pressure.

What comes next?

New research on the topic is being done every day. You have the ability to learn more about your DNA, so why wouldn’t you want to learn what changes can make you a healthier you?

One more important reminder: you need to be in control of who you share that information with. Secret Sequence will never sell your data—we never even ask for your name! Safely learn more about yourself and your health: order our Nutrition report today to learn more about your body’s caffeine presences!

*Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for information purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.




[3] JAMA and Archives Journals. (2006, March 8). Coffee Consumption Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Attack For Persons With Certain Gene Variation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 19, 2019 from

[4] Palatini P., et al (2009). CYP1A2 genotype modifies the association between coffee intake and the risk of hypertension. Journal of Hypertension. Aug 27(8). 1594-601.