Where is Caffeine Found?


Caffeine is a natural stimulant that affects the central nervous system and makes you feel more alert and energetic. 

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, with an estimated daily intake of 120,000 tons1.

Caffeine in Plants

Caffeine is naturally found in many plants’ leaves, seeds, and fruits, acting as an herbicide and insect repellent1. Some of the most common plants that contain caffeine are:

1. Coffee Beans

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Coffee beans are the seeds of the Coffea plant, which grows in tropical and subtropical regions.

There are over 120 species of coffee plants, but the most commercially important ones are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (also known as robusta)2.

Coffee beans are roasted and ground to make coffee, one of the world’s most popular beverages.

2. Tea Leaves

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Tea leaves are the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, native to China and India.

Many tea varieties, such as black, green, white, and oolong, depend on the processing and oxidation of the leaves3.

Tea is usually brewed with hot water to make a drink widely consumed across cultures.

3. Cocoa Beans

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Cocoa beans are the seeds of the Theobroma cacao plant, native to Central and South America.

Cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground to make cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate and other products.

Cocoa and chocolate contain caffeine and another stimulant called theobromine, which has similar effects3.

4. Guarana Seeds

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Guarana seeds are the seeds of the Paullinia cupana plant, native to the Amazon basin.

Guarana seeds are dried, roasted, and ground to make a powder used as a stimulant and a flavoring agent.

Guarana has a high caffeine content, ranging from 3.6% to 5.8% by weight, which is more than coffee beans4.

5. Kola Nuts

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Kola nuts are the seeds of the Cola acuminata and Cola nitida plants, native to West Africa.

Kola nuts are chewed or brewed to make a stimulating and refreshing drink popular in some African cultures.

Kola nuts contain caffeine and other phytochemicals, such as kolanin and theobromine6.

6. Yerba Mate Leaves

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Yerba mate leaves are the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, native to South America.

Yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and steeped in hot water to make a drink widely consumed in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Yerba mate contains caffeine and other compounds, such as theophylline and theobromine3


  1. Link, R. (2018, July 30). 14 sources of caffeine (some may surprise you). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-sources
  2. Link, R. (2019, August 1). 20 foods that are high in caffeine. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-with-caffeine
  3. Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, September 29). The effects of caffeine on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-effects-on-body
  4. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, November 23). Caffeine. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/caffeine
  5. WebMD. (n.d.). Caffeine directory. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/caffeine-directory (Accessed December 26, 2023)
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, February 14). Caffeine: How much is too much? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372