Caffeine in Cacao Beans


IT is stated by Knapp1 in his standard text-book on “Cacao Fermentation” that caffeine, the minor alkaloid of cocoa, occurs in fresh cacao beans as an L-epicatechin–caffeine complex. This statement would appear to be based on the work of Ultée and Van Dorssen2, who isolated such a complex from aqueous extracts of beans, and on the mainly unpublished work of Adam3,4, who showed that simple mixing of aqueous solutions of the two substances produced the sparingly soluble complex.


  1. 1

    Knapp, A. W., “Cacao Fermentation” (Bale, Sons and Curnow, Ltd., 1937).

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  2. 2

    Ultée, A. J., and Van Dorssen, W., Cultuurgids, 2, 529 (1909).

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  3. 3

    Adam, W. B., Analyst, 53, 369 (1928).

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  4. 4

    Adam, W. B. (private communication, 1951).

  5. 5

    Markham, R., and Smith, J. D., Biochem. J., 45, 294 (1949).

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FORSYTH, W. Caffeine in Cacao Beans. Nature 169, 33 (1952).

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