What is in your cup of Coffee? - The chemical construction of coffee.

What is in your cup of Coffee? - The chemical construction of coffee.

Coffee is a refreshing beverage that is created by roasting the ground-up beans of the coffee plant which originated in Africa. Along with water, and tea, this is one of the most expensive as well as most popular drinks that is bought and sold in the world. But of course, what is it about coffee that makes it so in-demand regardless of which season it is and how warm the temperature is? Well, there are a few things; first is the culture that has been created around coffee as the coffee boom entered cities like New York and London, among others; but in essence, the majority of the world. The other factor is the coffee itself and that's where the true secret lies.

Coffee is not just water and caffeine. It is made of several different compounds that give it the signature aroma and bitter taste that the world longs for every morning. Let’s discuss the compounds in some detail:


  1. Caffeine

The world collectively produces nearly 16 billion pounds of coffee beans every year; that's a lot of coffee. Other than that there is caffeine inside every tea, and nearly every carbonated drink out there. But more important than how much of it there is in the world, is what it does when consumed. Caffeine is a Central Nervous System Stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is also a diuretic that, causes the human body to believe that it should pee, by causing a hormonal change. Furthermore, caffeine is also effective in blocking any neuro-receptors for adenosine, which is the hormone responsible for making you feel drowsy when you wake up in the morning. So in essence, it is the caffeine in your coffee that makes you go about your day as alert as you could be.


  1. Water

Water is essential for life. We use it to wash and feed ourselves, to make other products such as paper, and to grow various crops. But other than that, water is also added to nearly every drink you can have in the world. As such, it makes sense to consider it in this list especially since coffee is comprised of up to 98% water. 

  1. 2-Ethylphenol

This is a compound that most people seem to know nothing about when talking of coffee, but regardless it is there. 2-Ethylphenol provides coffee with a medicine-like odor that can be smelt only if you’re familiar with the smell of good coffee.


  1. 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid

Although the name may be somewhat of a mouthful, this is one of the many antioxidants that can help protect the neurons in your central nervous system from any damage caused by free radicals which are in the body. These free radicals can cause damage to or kill your brain cells.


  1. Quinic Acid

This is another acid present in coffee and is primarily responsible for the sour taste you get whenever you taste a coffee bean or powder. Roasting coffee beans makes this acid by breaking down chlorogenic acid present in the coffee beans. Another added effect of roasting coffee beans is that this acid becomes more active and makes coffee attain an even more sour and exquisite taste.


  1. Acetylmethylcarbinol

Also known as an additive in microwave popcorn, and a component of real butter, this compound is the chemical that creates a buttery taste wherever it is used, including coffee. Caffe Lombardi Roasters has helped many coffee connoisseurs identify that buttery taste as it is extremely faint. In some of our blends it is a characteristic that brings a unique profile not tasted in any other coffee.


  1. Dimethyl disulfide

This compound occurs in coffee beans when they are roasted at the first stage of production. What’s more, is that it can seldom be detected but is still present inside coffee.


  1. Putrescine

This pungent compound is produced when E. coli bacteria break down amino acids, these could be present in meat, and even in coffee at times. As the name suggests this compound would smell rather repugnant.

  1. Trigonelline

This is an offshoot of Niacin which is given an extra methyl group and is the chemical compound that is known by scientists and coffee connoisseurs for giving coffee the sweet and earthy taste that has driven millions of people mad for coffee. This pyridine-rich compound is also helpful in fighting off any streptococcus bacteria that may be lurking around in your mouth waiting for the right moment to attach to your teeth.


  1. Niacin

This is a simplified version of Trigonelline that is created when the methyl group previously mentioned, detaches from Trigonelline giving rise to Niacin, which is a form of Vitamin B3 that is created when the temperature of your coffee goes beyond 160 ° F. to get your daily recommended intake of Niacin, you would have to consume around six to eight cups of coffee. This is why it can be a great supplemental source, but should not be the main source of your Vitamin B3.



These are the majority of the significant compounds that can be found in a single cup of coffee. They are distributed into 2-3% caffeine, 3-5% tannins, 13% protein, and 15% oils. These are the chemical proportions of coffee in a single cup or even in a single bean. Although if you’re hoping to understand what a great cup of coffee feels like rather than what it is made of, you should consider getting a subscription from Caffe Lombardi Roasters if you’re in Australia.

These subscriptions can provide you with coffee-making equipment such as machines, as well as bio-degradable capsules. It is our business’ prerogative to provide sustainable solutions for the world of coffee growers and coffee lovers alike and are constantly looking at further improving our footprint and reduce out impact on the environment. Choose from our wide variety of locally roasted blends that will suit your needs. All of our coffee is sourced using the most ethical standards and we deal direct with farmers ensuring they receive the best possible price on their coffee ensuring they are sustainable and can continue being profitable.

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