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Rebecca Evans

Departments of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantocks Close, Bristol, UK





Caffeine is consumed in vast amounts each day in many forms, mainly; coffee, tea and soft drinks.  

Globally, 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year, the coffee market is currently worth around $80 billion per year.  It is largely divided between multinational companies with Nestlé, Sara-Lee and Kraft buying the vast proportion of the worlds coffee.  The constant launch of new products, and investment in the improvement of favourites, shows that it is still very much a growth market.  Instant coffee was first launched in Britain 60 years ago and now accounts for 88% of the coffee consumed annually.  However coffee house culture is rapidly expanding, Starbucks, for instance, currently have 4302 stores worldwide (27 May 2001).  

Caffeine adds flavour profile to soft drinks, particularly colas.  The Coca-Cola Company sell around 7000 beverages per second over 200 countries worldwide (this includes non-caffeinated products).  Caffeine is also found in "pick-me-up" pills and, more recently, pharmaceuticals.

Caffeine is a more potent stimulant than nicotine and can cause health problems or even death.  Yet opinions over the potency and danger of caffeine are divided.