Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caffeine-Free Coffee Trees

Certain trees growing wild in the Comoro Islands and Madagascar are known as caffeine-free coffee trees. Just whether they are entitled to this classification or not is a question. Some of the French and German investigators have reported coffee from these regions that was absolutely devoid of caffeine. It was thought at first that they must represent an entirely new genus; but upon investigation, it was found that they belonged to the genus Coffea, to which all our common coffees belong.

Professor Dubard, of the French National Museum and Colonial Garden, studied these trees botanically and classified them as C. Gallienii, C. Bonnieri, C. Mogeneti, and C. Augagneuri. The beans of berries from these trees were analyzed by Professor Bertrand and pronounced caffein-free; but Labroy, in writing of the same coffee, states that, while the bean is caffein-free, it contains a very bitter substance, cafamarine, which makes the infusion unfit for use. Dr. O.W. Willcox, in examining some specimens of wild coffee from Madagascar, found that the bean was not caffein-free; and though the caffein content was low, it was no lower than in some of the Porto Rican varieties.

Another source reports that Hanausek found no caffein in C. mauritiana, C. humboltiana, C. Gallienii, C. Bonnerii, and C. Mogeneti.

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