The name of our website refers to Coffea, a genus with more than one hundred described species including the well known Arabica shown on this page. However, nowadays only two species are used for preparing coffee, i.e. Arabica with a market share of about 60 to 70 % and Robusta (= C. canephora Pierre ex A. Froehner) covering the rest.
It is quite surprising that no other coffee species has attained economic status, particularly, when we consider that the majority of the species of the genus Coffea is caffeine-free, a highly prized feature in a world where consumers increasingly bother with caffeine, and in which energy-consuming processes like decaffeination should be replaced by smart solutions. Therefore, we take the genus Coffea as an example to show how modern research explores the genetic ressources left over on our planet and fights against their extinction. Admirably, scientists from Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew who explore the genetic ressources of various plant families have created a World Checklist for Coffea.
Moreover, we will present here all The Caffeine Plants used by humans and explore their pattern of purine alkaloids, a collective term for caffeine and the related physiologically active substances. In this context, a view on the companions of caffeine is essential: Everybody has heard of the beneficial effects of tannins or phenolics which are part of all The Caffeine Plants and act in them as caffeine complexors.
Since caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive drug on our globe, it is accurate not only to write a few words about its effects on our body and mind, but also to explore the very intriguing aspect of how caffeine has influenced (and still does) the evolution of Homo sapiens. Related facts and hypotheses are covered by Man's matter.
The task to illustrate the caffeine tree as a phylogenetic tree initiated a whole series of other phylogenetic trees now assembled under phylogenetic treeART.
Last but not least, we elaborate on the curricula of three Swiss pioneers how they contributed to the knowledge and use of The Caffeine Plants growing in the neotropics.