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Information @ a Glance

General
  • Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It's also produced artificially and added to certain foods. Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing increased alertness. Caffeine gives most people a temporary energy boost and elevates mood.
  • Caffeine is a plant alkaloid, found in many plant species, where it acts as a natural pesticide with high caffeine levels being reported in seedlings that are still developing foliages, but are lacking mechanical protection; caffeine paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding upon the plant. High caffeine levels have also been found in the surrounding soil of coffee bean seedlings. The world's primary source of caffeine is the coffee bean (the seed of the coffee plant), from which coffee is brewed. Caffeine content in coffee varies widely depending on the type of coffee bean and the method of preparation used; even beans within a given bush can show variations in concentration.

Extraction

  • Extraction processes include removal of soluble compounds from a solid matrix, such as occurs in brewing coffee or tea or in decaffeinating coffee with liquid carbon dioxide. In the organic chemistry laboratory, however, extraction almost always refers to the transfer of compounds from one liquid solvent to another liquid solvent.
  • Pure caffeine is a white powder, and can be extracted from a variety of natural sources. Caffeine extraction is an important industrial process and can be performed using a number of different solvents. Benzene, chloroform, trichloroethylene and dichloromethane have all been used over the years but for reasons of safety, environmental impact, cost and flavor, they have been superseded by Water extraction, Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, Extraction by nonhazardous organic solvents.

Benefits of Caffeine

  • Believe it or not, certain amounts of caffeine can have beneficial effects. Historically, small amounts of caffeine have been used to help control weight, alleviate pain, open up airways for improved breathing, and overcome chronic fatigue. Small amounts of caffeine are found to provide the following benefits: Can benefit people who are at high-risk for liver disease, Increases muscle strength, Increases metabolism by breaking down fat, freeing fatty acids and forcing them to be burned. (Caffeine is the most active ingredient in many diet pills.), Increases pain relief medication effects, Increases mental faculty, Reduces asthma symptoms.

Market

  • Decaffeinated coffee accounts for about 10 per cent of the world coffee market, according to The National Coffee Association of USA. Industrial methods today to decaffeinate coffee use organic solvents and carbon dioxide to remove the caffeine from the beans, but in the process tend to deplete necessary flavour compounds.
  • The biotech subsidiary of Spanish cocoa products group, currently trades 22 functional ingredients and plant extracts, as well as purified caffeine. One of the first world producers of this product, it serves almost 400 clients around the world, exporting 90 per cent of its products.

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