Liberals do drink more lattes, but maybe not for the reasons you think

June 19, 2018, University of Pennsylvania
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The term "latte liberal" has been a popular way to disparage American progressives as uppity and out of touch, but does a person's coffee preference really say something about his or her political ideology?

According to a new study, it does.

Liberals do drink more lattes, but it's not because they're liberals. Liberals, the research finds, drink more lattes—a drink associated with its European origin—because they're more open to globalization, and conservatives drink fewer lattes because they are generally more nationalistic and opposed to what are seen as "foreign products" of all kinds.

Diana C. Mutz, Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication and School of Arts and Sciences, and her co-author Jahnavi S. Rao discuss their findings in a new study, "The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes," which was recently published in PS: Political Science & Politics.

In surveying 1500 Americans, 1,000 of whom were , and asking about their preferences, , , gender, zip code, and attitudes toward globalization, the researchers discovered that liberals and conservatives are equally likely to enjoy coffee. They also found that most Americans, regardless of political ideology, prefer regular brewed coffee to lattes. In fact, only 16% of liberals, 11% of moderates, and 9% of conservatives prefer lattes.

In exploring why liberals show a stronger preference for lattes, the researchers considered numerous factors, including the availability of lattes in one's local area, household income, and gender. Although all of these were predictors of latte drinking, none of them explained the relationship between lattes and liberals. However, latte drinkers' attitudes toward globalization proved most meaningful in explaining why liberals are more likely to drink lattes.

Coffee drinkers with a more "America first" nationalistic attitude were less likely to choose lattes over regular coffee. The researchers suggest that economic nationalism often leads to rejecting products that seem un-American or foreign.

Despite the fact that a latte purchased in an American coffee shop is produced in America, the Italian name may be leading nationalistic coffee drinkers to avoid the beverage in favor of regular brewed coffee.

The reality, of course, is that all coffee drinkers are engaged in the global economy; with the exception of minor amounts grown in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and California, all coffee is produced outside the U.S. and imported. Ironically, the researchers say, the latte contributes more to the American economy than regular brewed coffee because its high milk content supports the American dairy industry.

Rather than being a symbol of elitism or hypocrisy, lattes, the researchers say, can be seen as an indicator of openness to globalization and willingness to embrace open markets.

Explore further: Coffee may do your liver good

More information: Diana C. Mutz et al, The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes, PS: Political Science & Politics (2018). DOI: 10.1017/S1049096518000574

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not rated yet Jun 19, 2018
Globalism and xenophilia is often associated with "better than thou" attitude towards your own nationality because the person seeks to distance themselves from the "plebs" of their surroundings. Drinking lattes can also be a display of negative attitude towards your own neighbors - rather than being open to globalism, the person seeks to associate with some idealized foreign as their better.
not rated yet Jun 19, 2018
lattes taste better , and i'm better than thou with my $500 grinder and coffee brewing skills , and i'm '' alt right '' [ ie normal ] 'all' right ] . plebs like burned beans .
not rated yet Jun 19, 2018
That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard....
So Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food is also off my diet if I am "nationalistic" and "xenophobic".......what about "french" fries ... do progressives eat more of those...
5 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2018
That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard....
So Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food is also off my diet if I am "nationalistic" and "xenophobic".......what about "french" fries ... do progressives eat more of those...

It is well known that so-called Progressives fart more and loudly in public, especially if they are 'greenies'. They then look around while pretending that someone else must have done it.
They look down their noses at whom they deem as the 'hoi polloi', (an archaic term), while they clap like seals and voice their approval when the foul-mouthed, mentally-ill De Niro spouts his expletives on stage. They all get titillated at the high price of latte and believe that none other than their 'people' can afford the cost, which further elevates their self-perception of being as perfect as anyone of their lofty status can be.

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