Molecule of the Week
August 22, 2011
Theobromine is the primary alkaloid in chocolate—it gives unsweetened chocolate its bitter taste. It gets its name from the cacao tree genus Theobroma, but it’s also found in tea leaves and kola nuts. A. Woskresensky discovered theobromine in cacao beans in 1841, and E. Fischer synthesized it in 1882. If you replace the nitrogen-bearing hydrogen group with a methyl group, you have caffeine.