Sometimes this blogging business can get far too serious. Especially when most blogs are about procrastination, wasting time, and utterly pointless exercises — such as answering the important existential question, “What kind of coffee drink best represents me?” Well today’s post is for you.

“I am one of 112 million bloggers: hear me roar.”

First of all, bloggers are a rather self-important, egotistical lot. You get readership of about 30 people, and soon you’re indignant about any challenge to your status as an empowered, unstoppable voice of The Truth. (As told to me once by Technorati founder and former CEO, David Sifry, the typical blog has only about three readers.) Next you’re demanding the corporate communication offices of multi-billion-dollar retailers such as Target to stand at attention and take notice of your beautifully crafted online missives.

A couple years ago, I attended a conference where these so-called power-bloggers produced an insufferable level of this misplaced arrogance. They acted as if they had just adopted the Declaration of Independence in defiance of King George III — when in reality they were just following the decades-old Usenet to its next logical evolutionary step.

Meanwhile, most bloggers don’t understand why anyone would need a journalism degree, let alone what goes into one. And instead of changing the world, most bloggers are posting the equivalent of cat photos and gold-starred, third-grade art projects — things that in an earlier technological era never made it past the kitchen refrigerator door.

One of these classic refrigerator door exercises is the “personality test.” There’s even the coffee personality test, for topical purposes. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you think that the human capacity for self-fascination must be limitless; our species spends untold hours answering random questions just to be able to think, “Wow — I really am a vanilla mocha!”

More than just idiotic quizzes, however, there’s been a recent spate of articles in Australia and the U.S. profiling coffee drinkers by their beverage of choice.

The Coffee Personality Test

So what are these personality tests like? My morbid curiosity — the same one that lead me to places such as Lee’s Deli to sample their espresso — lead me to a couple such tests to demonstrate. One was the “What Kind of Coffee Are You?” quiz. Another was About.com’s “What Kind of Coffee Drink Are You?” quiz. (They are obviously very clever with naming these things.)

Essentially you answer a handful of ridiculous questions that might include the following:

  • your social habits at parties
  • your choice of an ideal pet
  • your Friday night movie-going habits (both quizzes correlate movie-going habits for some odd reason)
  • your favorite color
  • your choice for a home-cooked meal
  • your exercise preferences

So how do these quizzes work?… and what the heck does any of this have to do with coffee? Well, let’s first take a look at the results.

For the first quiz, my verdict was as follows:

You are a Black Coffee.
You are a Black Coffee
At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable
At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty
You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it
Your caffeine addiction level: high

Things only got worse with the second quiz, where I found myself pigeonholed as:

You are a Cappuccino

For all I can tell, these quizzes could have told me I was a muskrat and a walnut and they would have been just as relevant. But rather than proudly telling all my friends about these fine mystical revelations, I instead looked into two slightly less useless coffee personality surveys published in the Australian media last month.

What do they drink Down Under?

The first article was an informal poll of baristas in Darebin, a northern suburb of Melbourne: You are what coffee you drink – Leader News: Melbourne community news. The second was the result of formal research conducted by Australia’s Hudsons Coffee: Classic cappuccino Australia’s drink of choice | Herald Sun. Among their findings, they discovered:

  • mothers drink “skinny” lattes,
  • serious types drink flat whites,
  • tradesmen who work up a sweat drink black coffee in large quantities,
  • old ladies order hot cappuccino,
  • “alternative” types are going to have soy, and
  • people from the outer suburbs usually have a lot of sugar.

But that’s just the anecdotal. Now we get to their more bizarre findings:

Latte lovers:

  • love gossip
  • make a beeline for the paper’s entertainment section
  • take public transit
  • listen to dance music

Flat white drinkers:

  • listen to rock music
  • gravitate to the newspaper’s travel section
  • take taxis
  • have few Facebook friends (and yes, Facebook has several of their own crappy “What coffee are you?” applications)

Long black lovers:

  • spend Saturday night at the movies (again with the movies!?)
  • listen to classical music
  • live in the suburbs and drive an SUV or sports car

Cappuccino drinkers:

  • have a ton of Facebook friends
  • thrive on the newspaper’s sports section
  • drive a sedan

So given that my coffee “sign” is cappuccino, if we believe these stereotypes we can conclude that I am a grandmother of eight with poor circulation, some 500 Facebook friends, and a junkie-like addiction for the latest Australian rules football scores.

It’s like holding up a mirror.

What of American slaves to Starbucks’ pumpkin-pie-flavored Cool Whip?

Sure, maybe that flies for cappuccino-drinking stereotypes in Australia. But what about America?

Recently I came across a blog post on SheKnows.com (“one of the top 10 most-visited websites for women“): What your Starbucks drink says about you | Sheknows.com.

But looking at its beverage descriptions and personality matches made me feel more like a grandmother of eight trying to make sense of a teenager’s MySpace page: it’s complete with verbose descriptions of esoteric quirks and pointless trivia vomited in an almost 360-degree radial pattern of adjectives and photos that I could make neither heads nor tails of. I felt like I was trying to read ancient hieroglyphics without a Rosetta Stone, missing all the cultural clues and strange rituals of an alien civilization, and yet all the individual words were somehow in recognizable English.

Just then I realized — just as when I reached my physical limits consuming that lone Lee’s Deli espresso in the name of science — I had to discontinue this personality test experiment to spare myself from certain madness. Perhaps I discovered the real test of all these personality quizzes and surveys.

UPDATE: Oct. 28, 2008
Here’s a more humorous view on this topic from Primer Magazine: You Are What You Drink: 5 Women to Avoid at Starbucks | Primer. And ladies, don’t feel left out: they also offer “five men to avoid at Starbucks.” Yours truly, a doppio espresso, apparently falls in the “fear of commitment” category. Should I hope that my wife doesn’t find out?

UPDATE: July 16, 2013
Because people in Melbourne, Australia apparently have zero memory, the local papers repeated essentially the same Preston Leader article cited above — but this time from another local barista who isn’t in the suburbs: Barista spills the beans on coffee customers | News.com.au. Almost makes us wish for yet another kopi luwak article.

Meanwhile — because so many people cannot bother to read without being entertained first and foremost — there are even infographics for this noxious cuteness: DOGHOUSE | What Your Coffee Says About You.

UPDATE: Sept. 23, 2013
Worse still, there are clowns out there with PhD’s in clinical psychology who are passing this off these navel-gazing carnival booth games as academic research now: What your coffee reveals about your personality – Telegraph. Dr. Ramani Durvasula: we’ll set up your booth next to the bearded lady and the old woman who reads your tea leaves.