Analysis of Caffeine in Coffee
Caffeine Sources Worldwide
Effects of Caffeine
Temperature Analysis
Extraction Method
Fragmentation Patterns
3-D Nature of GC/MS
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Caffeine Sources Worldwide

The Worldwide Nature of Caffeine Use

Many cultures around the world have sources of caffeine which reach far into their histories.  Coffee originated in Ethiopia, spreading throughout the east sometime during the fourth century AD.  While coffee is certainly the best-known source of caffeine today, there are many other sources throughout the world.  Aztec records show that Montezuma was a great lover of a cacao drink (made from the same plant used to make chocolate today), consuming up to 50 glasses each day of the drink.  Cacao grows as a tropical tree, with its fruits being used in a number of ways to yield cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and many other products.  Various teas also contain caffeine, making China another locus of caffeine in history.  The leaves from these shrubs have become well-known throughout the world, and formed a major trade item throughout history.  West Africa was home to the kola nut, now immortalized in our culture as the origin of cola drinks.  These nuts were often chewed upon for their stimulant effects.  The ilex plant, which can be found in Brazil and Paraguay, has been used to make a drink known as mate.  This plant belongs to the holly family (the source of the tea’s other name – evergreen tea) and is made from the leaves and young shoots.  It notably also contains much more caffeine than most teas.  North America also has a native caffeinated plant known as cassina, youpon, the Christmas berry tree, or the North American Tea plant which grows from Virginia, south to Florida, and westward along the Gulf coast into Texas.  During the Civil War, when coffee and tea was scarce due to blockades, and also after World War I coffee was scarce, cassina became a popular substitute and was the focus of Department of Agriculture projects to cultivate a domestic caffeine source.