Caffeine, love it or hate it, most of us have a pretty strong opinion about America's favorite drug. This series of blog posts will look at caffeine, where it comes from, what it does and how much is too much. First up, what is caffeine and where does it come from?
Caffeine is a psychoactive drug, a stimulant, that occurs in about sixty different species of plant. The plants use it as a natural pesticide. For people, caffeine is a pick-me-up. For bugs, caffeine is poison.
Legend has it that the first time someone enjoyed caffeine was in China around 3000 BCE when the Chinese emperor accidentally dropped tea leaves into boiling water and invented tea. While we still enjoy tea today, but most caffeine comes from coffee.
All coffee contains caffeine, but not all coffees have the same amount. Arabica coffee, known for having the richest, most delicious flavor, has about half the caffeine of the cheaper, heavier-bodied and more bitter Robusta coffee. Roasting affects the amount of caffeine as well, but only by a little bit. Very dark roasted coffee has slightly less caffeine than very light roasted coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee has the least amount of caffeine of any coffee, but it's not 100% caffeine-free. Most decaffeination processes take out 98% of the caffeine, leaving 2% or 5-15 mg caffeine per cup of brewed coffee.
Next time Caffeine = ? How the caffeine gets out of the bean.