Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Hand-Crafted Glass Molecules!
Donate $150+ and get an art glass molecule.
(Pick caffeine, DMT, dopamine, ethanol, harmine, MDMA,
mescaline, serotonin, tryptamine, nitrous, THC, or psilocybin)
Erowid Note: This FAQ was not authored by Erowid. It may include out-of-date and/or incorrect information. Please check the version date to see when it was most recently revised. It appears on Erowid as part of our historical archives. For current information, see Erowid's summary pages in the substance's main vault.

This FAQ is dedicated to all beverages and products that contain caffeine; including tea, coffee, chocolate, mate, caffeinated soft drinks, caffeinated pills, coffee beans, etc.

There are several newsgroups in which these topics may be of relevance, including alt.drugs.caffeine,,, and is preferred over and

I welcome any and all contributions to this FAQ. If you do not agree with the info in here please let me know or write an article for the FAQ. If you feel you can explain something better than I have by all means rewrite the article and send it in.

  1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products
    1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?
    2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?
    3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?
    4. Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?
    5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?
    6. Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?
    7. How does caffeine taste?
    8. How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?
  2. Caffeine and your Health
    1. Caffeine Withdrawal
    2. What happens when you overdose?
    3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.
    4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)
    5. Studies on the side-effects of caffeine...
    6. Caffeine and your metabolism.
  3. Miscellaneous
    1. How do you pronounce mate?
  4. Recipes
    1. Chocolate covered espresso beans
    2. How to make your own chocolate
  5. Electronic Resources
  6. Administrivia
    1. How do I get the newest copy of this FAQ?
    2. List of Contributors
    3. Copyright
  1. The Chemistry of Caffeine and related products

    1. How much caffeine is there in [drink/food/pill]?

      According to the National Soft Drink Association, the following is the caffeine content in mgs per 12 oz can of soda:
         Afri-Cola            100.0  (?)
         Jolt                    71.2
         Sugar-Free Mr. Pibb     58.8
         Mountain Dew            55.0  (no caffeine in Canada)
         Diet Mountain Dew       55.0
         Kick citrus             54    (36 mg per 8oz can, caffeine from guarana) 
         Mello Yellow            52.8
         Surge                   51.0
         Tab                     46.8
         Battery  energy drink -- 140 mg/l = 46.7 mg/can
         Coca-Cola               45.6
         Diet Cola               45.6
         Shasta Cola             44.4
         Shasta Cherry Cola      44.4
         Shasta Diet Cola        44.4
         Mr. Pibb                40.8
         OK Soda                 40.5
         Dr. Pepper              39.6
         Pepsi Cola              37.2
         Aspen                   36.0
         Diet Pepsi              35.4
         RC Cola                 36.0
         Diet RC                 36.0
         Diet Rite               36.0
         Canada Dry Cola         30.0
         Canada Dry Diet Cola    1.2
         7 Up                    0
      Krank2o     sample 1     97.7 mg/500 ml sample 2    101.6 mg/500 ml
      Lab: Ameritech Labs, College Pt, NY; tested Sep 03, 96
      Krank2o    middle          96.4 mg/500 ml
      Lab: Ameritech Labs, tested Aug 29, 96

      By means of comparison, a 7 oz cup of coffee has the following caffeine (mg) amounts, according to Bunker and McWilliams in J. Am. Diet. 74:28-32, 1979:

         Drip                    115-175
         Espresso                100 mg of caffeine   
         1 serving (1.5-2oz) 
         Brewed                  80-135
         Instant                 65-100
         Decaf, brewed           3-4
         Decaf, instant          2-3
         Tea, iced (12 ozs.)     70
         Tea, brewed, imported   60
         Tea, brewed, U.S.       40
         Tea, instant            30
         Mate                    25-150 mg

      The variability in the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea is relatively large even if prepared by the same person using the same equipment and ingredients day after day.

      Reference Variability in caffeine consumption from coffee and tea: Possible significance for epidemiological studies by B. Stavric, R. Klassen, B. Watkinson, K. Karpinski, R. Stapley, and P. Fried in "Foundations of Chemical Toxicology", Volume 26, number 2, pp. 111-118, 1988 and an easy to read overview, Looking for the Perfect Brew by S. Eisenberg, "Science News", Volume 133, April 16, 1988, pp. 252-253.

      Quote from the lab manual:

      Caffeine is present in tea leaves and in coffee to the extent of about 4%. Tea also contains two other alkaloids, theobromine and theophylline. These last two relax the smooth muscles where caffeine stimulates the heart and respiratory systems.

      The effects of theobromine are, compared to caffeine and theophylline, relatively moderate. However, cocoa contains eight times more theophylline than caffeine. As well, caffeine has been shown to combine with other substances for added potency. Thus the effects of theobromine might be enhanced by the caffeine in chocolate.

      Theobromine is highly toxic to dogs and kills many canids/year via chocolate poisoning. It takes quite a dose to reach fatal levels (more than 200 mg/kg bodyweight) but some dogs have a bad habit of eating out of garbage cans and some owners have a bad habit of feeding dogs candy. A few oreos won't hurt a dog, but a pound of chocolate can do considerable damage.

      Clinical signs of theobromine toxicity in canids usually manifest 8 hours after ingestion and can include: thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, nervousness, clonic muscle spasms, seizures and coma. Any dog thought to have ingested a large quantity of chocolate should be brought to an emergency clinic asap, where treatment usually includes the use of emetics and activated charcoal. The dog will thus need to be monitored to maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance.

      Pathogenesis of theobromine toxicity: evidently large quantities of theobromine have a diuretic effect, relax smooth muscles, and stimulate the heart and cns.


      Fraser, Clarence M., et al, eds. The Merck Veterinary Manual, 7th ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc. 1991. pp. 1643-44.

      On humans caffeine acts particularly on the brain and skeletal muscles while theophylline targets heart, bronchia, and kidneys.

      Other data on caffeine:
      Cup of coffee    90-150 mg
      Instant coffee   60-80 mg
      Tea              30-70 mg
      Mate             25-150 mg
      Cola             30-45 mg
      Chocolate bar    30 mg
      Stay-awake pill  100 mg
      Vivarin          200 mg  
      Cold relief tablet  30 mg

      The following information is from Bowes and Church's Food values of portions commonly used, by Anna De Planter Bowes. Lippincott, Phila. 1989. Pages 261-2: Caffeine.

      Chocolate                               mg caffeine
        baking choc, unsweetened, Bakers--1 oz(28 g) 25
        german sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g)           8
        semi-sweet, Bakers -- 1 oz (28 g)            13
      Choc chips
        Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g)                     13
        german sweet, Bakers -- 1/4 cup (43 g)       15
      Chocolate bar, Cadbury  -- 1 oz (28 g)         15
      Chocolate milk  8oz                             8
      Jello Pudding Pops, Choc (47 g)                 2
      Choc mousse from Jell-O mix (95 g)              6
      Jello choc fudge mousse (86 g)                 12
      3 heaping teaspoons of choc powder mix          8
      2 tablespoons choc syrup                        5
      1 envelope hot cocoa mix                        5
      Dietary formulas
      ensure, plus, choc, Ross Labs -- 8 oz (259 g)  10
      Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar
      More stuff:
      Guarana "Magic Power" (quite common in Germany),
      15 ml alcohol with
      5g Guarana Seeds        250.0 mg
      Guarana capsules with
      500 mg G. seeds          25.0 mg / capsule
      (assuming 5% caffeine in seeds as stated in literature)

      Guarana soda pop is ubiquitous in Brazil and often available at tropical groceries here. It's really tasty and packs a wallop. Guarana wakes you up like crazy, but it doesn't cause coffee jitters.

      It is possible that in addition to caffeine, there is some other substance in guarana that also produces an effect, since it 'feels' different than coffee. Same goes for mate.

      Return to Index
    2. How much caffeine there is in blend X?

      Caffeine Content in beans and blends

      (Source: Newsletter--Mountanos Bros. Coffee Co., San Francisco)

      Brazil Bourbons  1.20%
      Celebes Kalossi  1.22
      Colombia Excelso  1.37
      Colombia Supremo  1.37
      Costa Rica Tarrazu  1.35
      Ethiopian Harrar-Moka  1.13
      Guatemala Antigua  1.32
      Indian Mysore  1.37
      Jamaican Blue Mtn/Wallensford Estate  1.24
      Java Estate Kuyumas  1.20
      Kenya AA  1.36
      Kona Extra Prime  1.32
      Mexico Pluma Altura  1.17
      Mocha Mattari (Yemen)  1.01
      New Guinea  1.30
      Panama Organic  1.34
      Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong  1.30
      Tanzania Peaberry  1.42
      Zimbabwe  1.10
      Colombia Supremo Dark  1.37%
      Espresso Roast  1.32
      French Roast  1.22
      Vienna Roast  1.27
      Mocha-Java  1.17
      DECAFS--all @ .02% with Swiss Water Process
      Return to Index
    3. Chemically speaking, what is caffeine?

      Caffeine is an alkaloid. There are numerous compounds called alkaloids, among them we have the methylxanthines, with three distinguished compounds: caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, found in cola nuts, coffee, tea, cacao beans, mate and other plants. These compounds have different biochemical effects, and are present in different ratios in the different plant sources. These compounds are very similar and differ only by the presence of methyl groups in two positions of the chemical structure. They are easily oxidized to uric acid and other methyluric acids which are also similar in chemical structure.

      Sources: Coffee, tea, cola nuts, mate, guarana.
      Effects: Stimulant of central nervous system, cardiac muscle, and
      respiratory system, diuretic Delays fatigue.

      Sources: Tea
      Effects: Cariac stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, diuretic, vasodilator

      Sources: Principle alkaloid of the cocoa bean (1.5-3%) Cola nuts and tea
      Effects: Diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, cardiac stimulant, vasodilator.

      (Info from Merck Index)

      The presence of the other alkaloids in colas and tea may explain why these sometimes have a stronger kick than coffee. Colas, which have lower caffeine contents than coffee are, reportedly, sometimes more active. Tea seems the strongest for some. Coffee seems more lasting for mental alertness and offers fewer jitters than the others.

      A search in CAS and produced these names and synonyms:

      RN   58-08-2  REGISTRY
      CN   1H-Purine-2,6-dione, 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (9CI)  (CA INDEX NAME)
      CN   Caffeine (8CI)
      CN   1,3,7-Trimethyl-2,6-dioxopurine
      CN   1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine
      CN   7-Methyltheophylline
      CN   Alert-Pep
      CN   Cafeina
      CN   Caffein
      CN   Cafipel
      CN   Guaranine
      CN   Koffein
      CN   Mateina
      CN   Methyltheobromine
      CN   No-Doz
      CN   Refresh'n
      CN   Stim
      CN   Thein
      CN   Theine
      CN   Tri-Aqua
      MF   C8 H10 N4 O2

      The correct name is the first one, 1H-Purine-2,6-dione, 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl- (This is the "inverted name") The "uninverted name" is 3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione

      Merck Index excerpt...

      Caffeine: 3,7-dihydro- 1,3,7-trimethyl- 1H-purine- 2,6-dione; 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine; 1,3,7-trimethyl- 2,6-dioxopurine; coffeine; thein; guaranine; methyltheobromine; No-Doz.

      C8H10N4O2; mol wt 194.19. C 49.48%, H 5.19%, N 28.85%, O 16.48%.

      Occurs in tea, coffee, mate leaves; also in guarana paste and cola nuts: Shuman, U.S. pat. 2,508,545 (1950 to General Foods). Obtained as a by-product from the manuf of caffeine-free coffee: Barch, U.S. pat. 2,817,588 (1957 to Standard Brands); Nutting, U.S. pat. 2,802,739 (1957 to Hill Bros. Coffee); Adler, Earle, U.S. pat. 2,933,395 (1960 to General Foods).

      Crystal structure: Sutor, Acta Cryst. 11, 453, (1958). Synthesis: Fischer, Ach, Ber. 28, 2473, 3135 (1895); Gepner, Kreps, J. Gen. Chem. USSR 16, 179 (1946); Bredereck et al., Ber. 83, 201 (1950); Crippa, Crippa, Farmaco Ed. Sci. 10, 616 (1955); Swidinsky, Baizer, U.S. pats. 2,785,162 and 2,785,163 (1957 to Quinine Chem. Works); Bredereck, Gotsmann, Ber. 95, 1902 (1962).

      Hexagonal prisms by sublimation, mp 238 C. Sublimes 178 C. Fast sublimation is obtained at 160-165 C under 1mm press. at 5 mm distance. d 1.23. Kb at 19 C: 0.7 x 10^(-14). Ka at 25 C: <1.0 x 10^(-14). pH of 1% soln 6.9. Aq solns of caffeine salts dissociate quickly. Absorption spectrum: Hartley, J. Chem. Soc. 87, 1802 (1905). One gram dissolves in 46 ml water, 5.5 ml water at 80 C, 1.5 ml boiling water, 66 ml alcohol, 22 ml alcohol at 60 C, 50 ml acetone, 5.5 ml chloroform, 530 ml ether, 100 ml benzene, 22 ml boiling benzene. Freely sol in pyrrole; in tetrahydrofuran contg about 4% water; also sol in ethyl acetate; slightly in petr ether. Soly in water is increased by alkali benzoates, cinnamates, citrates, or salicylates.

      Monohydrate, felted needles, contg 8.5% H2O. Efflorescent in air; complete dehydration takes place at 80 C. LD50 orally in rats: 200 mg/kg.

      Acetate, C8H10N4O2.(CH3COOH)2, granules or powder; acetic acid odor; acid reaction. Loses acetic acid on exposure to air. Soluble in water or alcohol with hydrolysis into caffeine and acetic acid. Keep well stoppered.

      Hydrochloride dihydrate, C8H10N4O2.HCl.2H2O, crystals, dec 80-100 C with loss of water and HCl. Sol in water and in alcohol with dec.

      Therap Cat: Central stimulant.

      Therap Cat (Vet): Has been used as a cardiac and respiratory stimulant and as a diuretic.

      Return to Index
    4. Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?

      From "Principles of biochemistry", Horton and al, 1993.

      Caffeine is sometimes called "theine" when it's in tea. This is probably due to an ancient misconception that the active constituent is different. Theophylline is present only in trace amounts. It is more diuretic, more toxic and less speedy.


      Coffee and tea contain caffeine and theophylline, respectively, which are methylated purine derivatives that inhibit cAMP phosphodiesterase. In the presence of these inhibitors, the effects of cAMP, and thus the stimulatory effects of the hormones that lead to its production, are prolonged and intensified.

      Theobromine and theophylline are two dimethylxanthines that have two rather than three methyl groups. Theobromine is considerably weaker than caffeine and theophylline, having about one tenth the stimulating effect of either.

      Theobromine is found in cocoa products, tea (only in very small amounts) and kola nuts, but is not found in coffee. In cocoa, its concentration is generally about 7 times as great as caffeine. Although, caffeine is relatively scarce in cocoa, its mainly because of theobromine that cocoa is "stimulating".

      Theophylline is found in very small amounts in tea, but has a stronger effect on the heart and breathing than caffeine. For this reason it is often the drug of choice in home remedies for treating asthma bronchitis and emphysema. The theophylline found in medicine is made from extracts from coffee or tea.

      Return to Index
    5. Where can I find a gif of the caffeine molecule?

      Caffeine = 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine

      A different view of the caffeine molecule.

      The Department of Chemistry at Jamaica of the University of Western Indies has made available an avi and an mpeg of a rotation of the caffeine molecule, among other molecules and chemical processes. The index page contains more information and the links to the clips.

                       / \
                 N----C   C==O
                ||   ||   |
                ||   ||   |
                CH    C   N--CH3
                  \  / \ /
                   N    C
                   |   ||
                  CH3   O
      There is a gif picture at the ftp site or any of its mirror sites under
      Theobromine is also a common component of coffee, tea, chocolate, and mate (particularly in these last two).
                       / \
                 N----C   C==O
                ||   ||   |
                ||   ||   |
                CH    C   N--H
                  \  / \ /
                   N    C
                   |   ||
                  CH3   O
      Theophylline was once thought to be a major component of tea. This is not correct. Tea contains significantly more amounts of caffeine than of theophylline.
                       / \
                 N----C   C==O
                ||   ||   |
                ||   ||   |
                CH    C   N--CH3
                  \  / \ /
                   N    C
                   |   ||
                   H    O
      Return to Index
    6. Is it true that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?

      Yes and no. An espresso cup has about as much caffeine as a cup of dark brew. But servings for espresso are much smaller. Which means that the content of caffeine per millilitre are much higher than with a regular brew. Moreover, caffeine is more quickly assimilated when taken in concentrated dosages, such as an espresso cup.

      The myth of lower caffeine espresso comes comes from the fact that the darker roast beans used for espresso do have less caffeine than regularly roasted beans as roasting is supposed to break up or sublimate the caffeine in the beans (I have read this quote on research articles, but found no scientific studies supporting it. Anybody out there?). But espresso is prepared using pressurized water through significantly more ground (twice as much?) than regular drip coffee, resulting in a higher percentage of caffeine per millilitre.

      Here's the caffeine content of Drip/Espresso/Brewed Coffee:

      Drip            115-175
      Espresso        100         1 serving (1.5-2oz)
      Brewed          80-135
      Return to Index
    7. How does caffeine taste?

      Caffeine is very bitter. Barq's Root Beer contains caffeine and the company says that it has "12.78 mg per 6oz" and that they "add it as a flavouring agent for the sharp bitterness"

      Return to Index
    8. How much theobromine/theophylline there is in ...?

      Sources: Physicians Desk Reference and Institute of Food Technologies from Pafai and Jankiewicz (1991) DRUGS AND HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

      cocoa                      250 mg theobromine
      bittersweet choc. bar      130 mg theobromine
      5 oz cup brewed coffee     no theobromine
      tea 5oz cup brewed 3min 
      with teabag                3-4 mg theophylline
      Diet Coke                  no theobromine or theophylline
      Return to Index
  2. Caffeine and your Health

    Important: This information was excerpted from several sources, no claims are made to its accuracy. The FAQ mantainer is not a medical doctor and cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information.

    1. Caffeine Withdrawal: Procedures and Symptoms.

      How to cut caffeine intake?

      Most people report a very good success ratio by cutting down caffeine intake at the rate of 1/2 cup of coffee a day. This is known as Caffeine Fading. Alternatively you might try reducing coffee intake in discrete steps of two-five cups of coffee less per week (depending on how high is your initial intake). If you are drinking more than 10 cups of coffee a day, you should seriously consider cutting down.

      The best way to proceed is to consume caffeine regularly for a week, while keeping a precise log of the times and amounts of caffeine intake (remember that chocolate, tea, soda beverages and many headache pills contain caffeine as well as coffee). At the end of the week proceed to reduce your coffee intake at the rate recommended above. Remember to have substitutes available for drinking: if you are not going to have a hot cup of coffee at your 10 minute break, you might consider having hot chocolate or herbal tea, but NOT decaff, since decaff has also been shown to be addictive. This should take you through the works without much problem.

      Some other people quit cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms are quite nasty this way (see section below) but they can usually be countered with lots of sleep and exercise. Many people report being able to stop drinking caffeine almost cold-turkey while on holidays on the beach. If quitting cold turkey is proving too hard even in the beach, drinking a coke might help.

      What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

      Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to adenosine. In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.

      This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several analgesics contain caffeine dosages).

      Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable, unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.


      Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan R. Liss Inc, 1984.

      Return to Index

    2. What happens when you overdose?

      From Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-3-R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987):

      Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine Intoxication

      1. Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250 mg.
      2. At least five of the following signs:
        1. restlessness
        2. nervousness
        3. excitement
        4. insomnia
        5. flushed face
        6. diuresis
        7. gastrointestinal disturbance
        8. muscle twitching
        9. rambling flow of thought and speech
        10. tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
        11. periods of inexhaustibility
        12. psychomotor agitation
      3. Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as an Anxiety Disorder.

      Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.

      Toxic dose

      The LD_50 of caffeine (that is the lethal dosage reported to kill 50% of the population) is estimated at 10 grams for oral administration. As it is usually the case, lethal dosage varies from individual to individual according to weight. Ingestion of 150 mg/kg of caffeine seems to be the LD_50 for all people. That is, people weighting 50 kilos have an LD_50 of approx. 7.5 grams, people weighting 80 kilos have an LD_50 of about 12 grams.

      In cups of coffee the LD_50 varies from 50 to 200 cups of coffee or about 50 vivarins (200 mg each).

      One exceptional case documents survival after ingesting 24 grams. The minimum lethal dose ever reported was 3.2 grams intravenously, this does not represent the oral MLD (minimum lethal dose).

      In small children ingestion of 35 mg/kg can lead to moderate toxicity. The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is 50 - 200 mg. Infants metabolize caffeine very slowly.

      • Acute caffeine poisoning gives early symptoms of anorexia, tremor, and restlessness. Followed by nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, and confusion. Serious intoxication may cause delirium, seizures, supraventricular and ventricular tachyarrhythmias, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia.
      • Chronic high-dose caffeine intake can lead to nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching, insomnia, palpitations and hyperreflexia. For blood testing, cross-reaction with theophylline assays will detect toxic amounts. (Method IA) Blood concentration of 1-10 mg/L is normal in coffee drinkers, while 80 mg/L has been associated with death.
      • Emergency Measures
        • Maintain the airway and assist ventilation. (See Appendix A)
        • Treat seizures & hypotension if they occur.
        • Hypokalemia usually goes away by itself.
        • Monitor Vital Signs.
      • Specific drugs & antidotes. Beta blockers effectively reverse cardiotoxic effects mediated by excessive beta-adrenergic stimulation. Treat hypotension or tachyarrhythmias with intravenous propanolol, .01 - .02 mg/kg. , or esmolol, .05 mg/kg , carefully titrated with low doses. Esmolol is preferred because of its short half life and low cardioselectivity.
      • Decontamination
        • Induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage.
        • Administer activated charcoal and cathartic.
        • Gut emptying is probably not needed if 1 2 are performed promptly.
      Appendix A
      Performing airway assistance.
      1. If no neck injury is suspected, place in the "Sniffing" position by tilting the head back and extending the front of the neck.
      2. Apply the "Jaw Thrust" to move the tongue out of the way without flexing the neck: Place thumb fingers from both hands under the back of the jaw and thrust the jaw forward so that the chin sticks out. This should also hurt the patient, allowing you to judge depth of coma. :)
      3. Tilt the head to the side to allow vomit and snot to drain out.
      From conversations on alt.drugs.caffeine:

      The toxic dose is going to vary from person to person, depending primarily on built-up tolerance. A couple people report swallowing 10 to 13 vivarin and ending up in the hospital with their stomaches pumped, while a few say they've taken that many and barely stayed awake.

      A symptom lacking in the clinical manual but reported by at least two people on the net is a loss of motor ability: inability to move, speak, or even blink. The experience is consistently described as very unpleasant and not fun at all, even by those very familiar with caffeine nausea and headaches.

      Return to Index
    3. Effects of caffeine on pregnant women.

      Caffeine has long been suspect of causing mal-formations in fetus, and that it may reduce fertility rates.

      These reports have proved controversial. What is known is that caffeine does causes malformations in rats, when ingested at rates comparable to 70 cups a day for humans. Many other species respond equally to such large amounts of caffeine.

      Data is scant, as experimentation on humans is not feasible. In any case moderation in caffeine ingestion seems to be a prudent course for pregnant women. Recent references are Pastore and Savitz, Case-control study of caffeinated beverages and preterm delivery. American Journal of Epidemiology, Jan 1995.

      A recent study found a weak link between Sudden-Infant-Death-Syndrome (SIDS) and caffeine consumption by the mother, which reinforces the recommendation for moderation -possibly even abstinence- above.

      On men, it has been shown that caffeine reduces rates of sperm motility which may account for some findings of reduced fertility.

      Return to Index
    4. Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)

      From the Journal of AMA: (JAMA, 26 Jan. 1994, p. 280-3.)

      "There was a significant association between (drinking more) caffeinated coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine, independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, thiazides, and calcium supplements [in women]."

      Except when:

      "Bone density did not vary [...] in women who reported drinking at least one glass of milk per day during most of their adult lives."

      That is, if you drink a glass of milk a day, there is no need to worry about the caffeine related loss of calcium.

      Return to Index

    5. Studies on the side-effects of caffeine.

      OAKLAND, California (UPI) -- Coffee may be good for life. A major study has found fewer suicides among coffee drinkers than those who abstained from the hot black brew.

      The study of nearly 130,000 Northern California residents and the records of 4,500 who have died looked at the effects of coffee and tea on mortality.

      Cardiologist Arthur Klatsky said of the surprising results, "This is not a fluke finding because our study was very large, involved a multiracial population, men, women, and examined closely numerous factors related to mortality such as alcohol consumption and smoking.''

      The unique survey also found no link between coffee consumption and death risk. And it confirmed a "weak'' connection of coffee or tea to heart attack risk -- but not to other cardiovascular conditions such as stroke.

      The study was conducted by the health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente and was reported Wednesday in the Annals of Epidemiology.

      Return to Index
    6. Caffeine and your metabolism.

      Caffeine increases the level of circulating fatty acids. This has been shown to increase the oxidation of these fuels, hence enhancing fat oxidation. Caffeine has been used for years by runners and endurance people to enhance fatty acid metabolism. It's particularly effective in those who are not habitual users.

      Caffeine is not an appetite suppressant. It does affect metabolism, though it is a good question whether its use truly makes any difference during a diet. The questionable rationale for its original inclusion in diet pills was to make a poor man's amphetamine-like preparation from the non-stimulant sympathomimetic phenylpropanolamine and the stimulant caffeine. (That you end up with something very non-amphetamine like is neither here nor there.) The combination drugs were called "Dexatrim" or Dexa-whosis (as in Dexedrine) for a reason, namely, to assert its similarity in the minds of prospective buyers. However, caffeine has not been in OTC diet pills for many years per order of the FDA, which stated that there was no evidence of efficacy for such a combination.

      From Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics:

      Caffeine in combination with an analgesic, such as aspirin, is widely used in the treatment of ordinary types of headache. There are few data to substantiate its efficacy for this purpose. Caffeine is also used in combination with an ergot alkaloid in the treatment of migrane (Chapter 39).

      Ergotamine is usually administered orally (in combination with caffeine) or sublingually [...] If a patient cannot tolerate ergotamine orally, rectal administration of a mixture of caffeine and ergotamine tartarate may be attempted.

      The bioavailability [of ergotamine] after sublingual administration is also poor and is often inadequate for therapeutic purposes [...] the concurrent administration of caffeine (50-100 mg per mg of ergotamine) improves both the rate and extent of absorption [...] However, there is little correspondence between the concentration of ergotamine in plasma and the intensity or duration of therapeutic or toxic effects.

      Caffeine enhances the action of the ergot alkaloids in the treatment of migrane, a discovery that must be credited to the sufferers from the disease who observed that strong coffee gave symptomatic relief, especially when combined with the ergot alkaloids. As mentioned, caffeine increases the oral and rectal absorption of ergotamine, and it is widely believed that this accounts for its enhancement of therapeutic effects.

      Nowadays most of researchers believe that the stimulatory actions are attributable to the antagonism of the adenosine. Agonists at the adenosine receptors produce sedation while antagonists at these sites, like caffeine and theophylline induce stimulation, and what is even more important, the latter substance also reverse agonists-induced symptoms of sedation, thus indicating that this effects go through these receptors.

      Another possibility, however, is that methylxanthines enhance release of excitatory aminoacids, like glutamate and aspartate, which are the main stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.

      As to the side effects: methylxanthines inhibit protective activity of common antiepileptic drugs in exptl. animals in doses comparable to those used in humans when correction to the surface area is made. It should be underlined, that although tolerance develop to the stimulatory effects of theo or caffeine when administered on a chronic base, we found no tolerance to the above effects . This hazardous influence was even enhanced over time. Therefore, it should be emphasized that individuals suffering from epilepsy should avoid, or at least reduce consumption of coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages.

      Return to Index
  3. Miscellaneous

    1. How do you pronounce mate?

      MAH-teh. MAH like in malt, and -teh like in Gral. Patten.

      Return to Index
  4. Recipes.

    1. Chocolate covered espresso beans

      You won't get single, glossy beans, but the taste is there!

      1. Put dark roast coffee beans on a waxpaper-covered baking sheet.
      2. Melt some chocolate by puting a container with the chocolate in a pan of boiling water, stir the chocolate when it is getting hot. Some experimentation regarding what chocolate to use is in place. I used chocolate chips of from Girardelli. One should probably aim for dark and not too sweet chocolate.
      3. Pour the chocolate over the beans and smear it so that each bean is covered - you should have a single layer of covered beans not too far apart.
      4. When the beans have cooled off a little bit, put the sheet in the fridge/freezer.
      5. When solid, break off a piece and enjoy.

    2. How to make your own chocolate

      Here's the recipe for making a real chocolate beverage. Important steps are in boldface.


      • 1-2 kg (2-4pounds) of cocoa beans.
      • A manually operated grinder.


      • Sift through the beans removing any impurities (pieces of grass, leaves, etc).
      • Place the beans in a pan (no teflon) and roast them. Stir frequently. As the beans roast they start making "pop" sounds like popcorn. Beans are ready when you estimate that approx 50-75% of the beans have popped. Do not let the beans burn, though a bit of black on each bean is ok.
      • Peel the beans. Peeling roasted cocoa beans is like peeling baked potatoes: The hotter they are the easier it is to peel the darn things, at the expense of third degree burns on your fingers. (Tip: Use kitchen mittens and brush the beans in your hands). If the beans are too hard to peel roast them a bit longer.
      • Grind the beans into a pan. They produce a dark oily paste called "cocoa paste".
      • The oil in the cocoa has a bitter taste that you have to get used to. I like it this way, but not all people do. Here are the alternatives:

        With oil, which gives you a richer flavour:

        Spread aluminum foil on a table and make small pies of chocolate, about 1/4 of an inch high, and 6 inches in diameter. Let them rest overnight. The morning after they are hard tablets. Remove them from the aluminum foil and rap them in it. Store in the freezer.

        Without oil, some flavour is gone, less bitter, weaker (whimper) chocolate:

        Put the paste inside a thin cloth (like linen), close the cloth and squeeze until the oil comes out. If you manage to get most of the oil out, what is left is high quality cocoa powder, like Droste's.

        What is left now is either bitter tablets or bitter cocoa powder.

      You can now make a nice beverage as follows:

      • Boil a liter of milk (or water, like in ancient Mexican style. Like water for chocolate, "Como agua para chocolate": you know).
      • When the milk is warm (not hot) add a chocolate pie in pieces. Stir with a blender (but be careful! the blender's electric cord should NOT touch the pot or any other hot thing around it).
      • When the chocolate has dissolved add 1/2-3/4 cups of sugar (depending how sweet you like your chocolate) and blend in fast. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved in the chocolate otherwise it would be bitter no matter how much sugar you may add afterwards.
      • Add a teaspoon of cinnamon or natural vanilla flavour (artificial vanilla flavour with chocolate results in an awful medicine like flavour) if you like, and blend again.
      • Let the mixture boil, when it starts to get bubbly quickly remove the pan from the stove top, and rest the bottom against a soaked cloth. Put again on stove top, it should get bubbly almost immediately, remove once again and repeat one last time. This aerates the chocolate which enhances flavour.
      • In a mug, put about 1/2-3/4 of the chocolate mixture, and add cold milk, until the temperature and/or the concentration of the flavour is right for your tastes. Accompany with French Pastries. Yum Yum!!


    3. Return to Index
  5. Electronic Resources

    Return to Index
  6. Administrivia

      • How do I get the newest copy of this FAQ?

        How do I get the newest copy of this FAQ?
        My page at
        or via e-mail send a message to

      • List of Contributors

        This FAQ is a collective effort. Here's a list of most (all?) of the contributors.

        • Oktay Ahiska (
        • Marc Aurel (
        • Scott Austin (
        • Tom Benjamin (
        • Jennifer Beyer (
        • Steve Bliss (
        • David Alan Bozak (dab@NOSPAM.moxie)
        • Rajiv (
        • Trevor P. Bugera (
        • Jack Carter (
        • Richard Drapeau (
        • Jym Dyer (
        • Steve Dyer (
        • Stefan Engstrom (stefan@NOSPAM.helios.UCSC.EDU)
        • Lemieux Francois (lemieuxf@NOSPAM.ERE.UMontreal.CA)
        • Scott Fisher (
        • Dave Huddle (
        • Matt Humphrey (
        • Tom F Karlsson (
        • Bob Kummerfeld (
        • Dr. Robert Lancashire (
        • John Levine (
        • Alex Lopez-Ortiz (
        • Alec Muffett (
        • Dana Myers (myers@NOSPAM.cypress.West.Sun.COM)
        • Tim Nemec (
        • Mike Oliver (
        • Jim Pailin (
        • Dave Palmer (
        • Stuart Phillips (
        • Siobhan Purcell (PURCELLS@NOSPAM.IRLEARN.UCD.IE)
        • Cary A. Sandvig (
        • Jesse T Sheidlower (
        • Stepahine da Silva (
        • Michael A Smith (
        • Mari J. Stoddard (
        • Thom (
        • Deanna K. Tobin T.E. (
        • Nick Tsoukas (
        • Adam Turoff (
        • Ganesh Uttam (
        • David R. B. Walker (
        • Orion Wilson (
        • Piotr Wlaz (
        • Ted Young (theodric@NOSPAM.MIT.EDU)
        • SZ (sz*@s*.c*.ca)

      • Copyright

        This FAQ is Copyright (C) 1994,1995 by Alex Lopez-Ortiz.

        This FAQ is Copyright © 1998 by Daniel Owen. This text, in whole or in part, may not be sold in any medium, including, but not limited to, electronic, CD-ROM, or published in print, without the explicit, written permission of Daniel Owen

        Return to Index

Copyright (C) 1994, Alex López-Ortiz.
Copyright © 1998 Daniel Owen.