Extraction of Caffeine From
Extraction of Caffeine from Tea
Purpose:
To compare solvents used for isolation of caffeine from Tea.
Techniques & Principles:
Week One
Reading:
Isolate Caffeine from Tea comparing ethyl acetate and
dichloromethane solvents.
Chemical Toxicology/Safety (1.5-1.6)
Extraction and washing (11.1-11.4,11.6)
Drying agents (12)
Safer Solvents & Auxiliaries
Week Two
Reading:
Recover solvents by distillation
Compile class crude yield data and compare solvents
Purify Caffeine by sublimation
Characterize caffeine by mp (and IR)
Simple distillation (13.3)
Sublimation (16.1-2)
mp w/ sublimation (14.6)
Introduction
The active ingredient that makes tea and coffee valuable to humans is caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid, a
class of naturally occurring compounds containing nitrogen and having the properties of an organic amine
base. Caffeine is found in over 60 plant species. Caffeine belongs to a family of naturally occurring
compounds known as xanthines. The xanthines, which come from plants, are possibly the oldest known
stimulants. Caffeine is the most powerful xanthine in its ability to increase alertness, put off sleep and to
increase ones capacity for thinking. Caffeine is a vasodilator (relaxes the blood vessels) as well as a diuretic
(increases urination).
Caffeine does not exist alone in tealeaves; the leaves are mainly cellulose, pigments and chlorophylls, and
tannins. Tannins are phenolic compounds of high molecular weight. The acidic phenols of tannins can
complex with metals like calcium to form solid precipitates.
O
H3C
O
CH3
N
N
N
(1)
N
CH3
Caffeine
Tannic Acid: A type of Tannin
Some of the better-known plant sources are coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves, and kola nuts. While coffee
and tea are both popular products containing caffeine, the amounts vary widely in a single serving. To
further confuse the matter, coffee beans contain less caffeine than tea leaves when measured dry. However,
a serving of coffee contains roughly twice the caffeine of tea. Much of the flavor of coffee and tea comes
from tannins and other flavoring agents. Caffeine has a slightly bitter flavor. As a result, decaffeinating
coffee beans and tea leaves will leave the flavor slightly changed even if no other compounds are lost.
Beverage (8 oz)
coffee
decaffeinated coffee
tea
chocolate milk/cocoa
soft drink
Caffeine (mg)
50 – 200
1–5
20 – 120
3 – 30
20 – 50
1
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
Several health concerns have been raised over the consumption of caffeine. The Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has extensively studied the consumption of caffeine and its health effects. In 1987
the FDA concluded that normal caffeine consumption does not increase risk to health. These studies
included cancer risk, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, reproductive function, birth defects, and
behavior of children.
Many consumers prefer to avoid caffeine partially or altogether due to its stimulant effects and others still
have health concerns. This makes decaffeination of coffee and tea an important industrial process.
Decaffeination is also significant for the world’s economy; approximately eight billion pounds of coffee are
grown a year making it second only to oil as an international commodity. It should be noted that
decaffeinated coffee and tea are not caffeine free. These products can be labeled decaffeinated as long as
97% of the caffeine has been removed.
Greening the Chemistry
The industrial decaffeination process has evolved over the years. Initially direct contact methods used
chloroform (CHCl3), and more recently methylene chloride (CH2Cl2), as the solvent to repeatedly rinse the
green (unroasted) coffee beans that had been softened by steam. Once sufficient caffeine had been
removed, the beans would be roasted. Since these organic solvents have a high vapor pressure and low
boiling point, any solvent remaining in the beans is removed during roasting. This method has several
brown characteristics. Both of these solvents are carcinogenic and have several human health concerns
with methylene chloride having the lesser overall hazard. Chlorinated hydrocarbon waste has significant
environmental impacts and is costly to dispose. Roasting also does not guarantee full removal of the
solvent, although solvent levels are rarely detectable. So why were these solvents used in the first place?
Their advantages are that they are not water-soluble, have a low boiling point, and remove caffeine without
removing significant amounts of other compounds, leaving the majority of the flavor unaltered.
Recently the direct contact process has been greened significantly using supercritical CO2. The green
coffee beans are steam softened with water and then supercritical CO2 is used to extract the caffeine. Once
the system is returned to room temperature and pressure the coffee beans and separated caffeine are now
solvent free as CO2 returns to the gas phase. Then the CO2 can be captured and reused. This method has
all the advantages of the above technique without the environmental and human health risks.
Indirect contact methods have also been developed to decaffeinate coffee. The green coffee beans are
soaked (steeped) in almost boiling water until the caffeine is removed from the bean. The coffee solution is
then treated with ethyl acetate (a natural ester) which has moderate human health hazards but is not
carcinogenic. Ethyl acetate solvates caffeine more effectively than water and extracts the caffeine. The
remaining ethyl acetate is removed from the coffee solution by steaming. The coffee solution is then
combined with the beans which reabsorb the coffee oils as they are dried.
The procedure we will be using with this experiment is also an indirect method for extracting
caffeine from coffee. We will be comparing the efficiency and “greenness” of ethyl acetate and
dichloromethane as extraction solvents. We will also be separating the solvent from our crude
product by distillation. The distilled solvent will be collected and stored for reuse next year.
Theory/Discussion
Caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is an alkaloid. Alkaloids are bitter tasting, natural nitrogen-containing compounds
found in plants. Alkaloids are often found to have potent physiological activity. Some better known
examples are morphine, heroin, lysergic acid (LSD), cocaine, quinine, strychnine, and nicotine.
2
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
The basic property of alkaloids come from the lone pair of electrons found on at least one nitrogen. The
basic N in caffeine can be used to increase or decrease its water solubility. Acidic conditions will form the
conjugate acid salt giving caffeine increased water solubility as a cation. On the other hand if caffeine is in
a basic environment it takes the neutral form and is only somewhat polar.
O
H3C
O
CH3
N
N
Acid
H3O
N
N
O
H3C
O
OH
Base
CH3
More soluble in Nonpolar Solvents
CH3
N
N
N
CH3
N
H
More soluble in water
In order to successfully extract any substance from one solvent into another, we must maximize differences
in solubility. In some situations choosing a green process means trading some efficiency for human and
environmental health. While 1-propanol or ethyl acetate may be a less efficient extractor than CHCl3 and
CH2Cl2, we can maximize our efficiency by using a few simple techniques.
1. Adding NaCl to the caffeine in water solution:
a. The water will be more attracted to the very polar NaCl and less attracted to caffeine thus
“salting out” the caffeine from water solution.
2. Adding Ca(OH)2 or CaCO3 to a caffeine in water solution:
a. This makes the solution basic so puts caffeine in its least polar form and so more readily
solvated in organic solvents and less attracted to water.
b. The water solution contains much more than just caffeine, and some of these compounds
are also soluble in organic solvents. Basic Ca(OH)2 reacts with tannic acids to form
insoluble tannin salts which precipitate and so can be removed from the solution before the
caffeine is extracted.
The organic extract will primarily contain caffeine with small amounts of impurities. This solution
is washed with 10% NaOH to remove impurities. Caffeine is also water soluble, but by keeping
the washing solution basic it minimizes the caffeine lost, while maximizing the removal of
impurities.
The extraction is analyzed by determining the partition coefficient (KP) (also known as the partition
constant, partition ratio, distribution coefficient (Kd) or distribution ratio)
KP 
solubilityin extractant
solubilityin source solution
(3)
where solubility is usually given in g/mL. Partition functions with larger values result in more efficient
extractions.
Extractions are most effective when repeated several times with small volumes of solvent rather than once
with a large volume.
3
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
Procedures:
Notes:
Part 1:Extraction of Caffeine
The washings should be
repeated a total of three times.
The final washing may need to
be filtered to recover all the
extract.
1. Heat about 200.0 mL of distilled water to boiling.
2. Weigh about 10-12 grams (about 5 bags) of tea leaves into a large
beaker. Record the actual mass used.
3. Pour 100 mLs of the boiling water over the tea leaves. Cover with a
watch glass and allow the solution to steep for 7-10 minutes.
4. Pour the tea solution through cheesecloth into another beaker and
press out as much of the water in the tea leaves as possible. Set the
extracted solution aside.
5. Put the leaves from the cheesecloth back into the beaker and repeat
the tea extraction twice more with 25 mL of boiling water, letting
stand for five minutes, pouring through the cheese cloth and pressing
out as much water as possible each time. Combine each of the
washings with the initially extracted solution.1
1
2
To “salt out” the caffeine
since water will be more
attracted to the NaCl than it will
be to the caffeine making the
amount of caffeine in the water
less.
3
The Ca(OH)2 will react with
the tannins in the tea to
precipitate them as Calcium
salts. Sometimes Calcium
Carbonate is used. Calcium
hydroxide also makes the
solution basic.
4
6. To the combined extracts add approximately
 20 g of sodium chloride2 and
 about 1 gram total of calcium hydroxide. 3
7. Heat and stir the solution for 15 minutes (near boiling).4
8. Vacuum filter the hot solution through a Buchner funnel to remove
any undissolved solids. Cool the solution to room temperature.
9. Pour the tea extract into a separatory funnel supported in an iron ring
and extract5 with 4 successive 25 mL portions of extraction solvent
(1-propanol, dichloromethane or ethyl acetate). 6
10. Combine the organic extracts in a separatory funnel and wash once
with 25 mL of 10% aqueous NaOH solution.
11. Transfer the extract solution into an Erlenmeyer flask and dry by
adding about 2-3 grams of anhydrous magnesium sulfate or sodium
sulfate and swirling occasionally until it no longer clumps.
This process will enable the
salt to dissolve and more of the
tannins to precipitate.
5
Mix the solutions gently to
minimize emulsion formation
and vent the separatory funnel
frequently, especially during
initial mixing to avoid pressure
buildup. Make sure any
emulsion layer has mostly
disappeared before separating.
6
1-propanol or ethyl acetate will
be top layers; dichloromethane
will form a bottom layer. If a
layer is not clearly visible, add
an additional portion (10-25
mLs) of solvent to the
separatory funnel. Stir gently
with a stirring rod to break up
any emulsion.
12. Decant (or filter) the dried extract into a 250 mL round bottom flask
(RBF) and add a few boiling chips to be ready for distillation.
13. Continue on to Part 2 or this is an appropriate stopping place if you
are out of time. Stopper your RBF and place on a cork support in
your laboratory drawer for next week.
4
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
Part 2: Purification of Caffeine
7
The boiling point of
1-Propanol is 97-98oC
Ethyl acetate is 77.1oC
Dichloromethane is 39.6oC
14. Prepare a simple distillation apparatus.
15. Distill the extraction solvent (either 1-propanol,
ethyl acetate, or dichloromethane) from the
caffeine extract using a water bath as a heat
source. Carefully monitor the temperature so as
not to overheat the caffeine and so that only the
extraction solvent is distilled. 7
8
Stop the distillation (remove from the hot water bath)
before the flask is dry when either the vapor temperature
drops and no more distillate is being collected in the
receiving flask or when the temperature exceeds the
boiling point of the solvent by more than 5C.
9
16. Stop the distillation (remove the heat source) just
before the flask is dry. 8
17. Take your distilled solvent and measure the
volume (accurate to 1 mL), and add it to the
corresponding recycled solvent collection
container. 9
The recovered solvents will be used next year for this
experiment.
10
Crude caffeine should be a light tan color and only
turns dark brown when degraded due to high heat.
11
. Alternately the crude caffeine could be put into a preweighed filter flask to be ready for sublimation under
reduced pressure (vacuum)
Vacuum Sublimation apparatus:
18. Rinse the crude caffeine10 residue in the flask
with a couple small portions of acetone into a
pre-weighed (tared) glass Petri dish11 and
evaporate the acetone using a low heat or a
stream of air.
19. Determine the mass of the crude caffeine.
20. Purify your caffeine by sublimation at
atmospheric pressure12, carefully monitoring the
heat so as to minimize the decomposition of your
caffeine.
12
Atmospheric Sublimation apparatus
21. Determine the mass of the pure product and the
melting point. 13
22. Use the FT-IR to identify your product as
caffeine.
Caffeine
13
Caffeine will sublime during melting so the melting
point must be taken in a sealed tube.
Written Report:
For this experiment create a formal report following the formal report guidelines given.
 Besides the overall process the report should include a specific evaluation of greenness including comparison of
solvents used.
 When determining Percent yield of caffeine from original sample assume that the maximum mg of caffeine is in
solution before extraction. (Note that 1 oz = 29.57 mL)
References:
Murray, D.S.; Hansen, P.J., J. Chem. Educ., 1995 (72) 851.
Hampp, A., J. Chem. Educ., 1996 (73) 1172.
Hill,Barbaro; Experiments in Organic Chemistry CPC 2000
John Thompson; Lane Community College, Carol Handy PCC
5
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
6
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction:
Name______________
Pre Lab Exercises
Week 1:
1. What two things does the addition of Ca(OH)2 do to aid the extraction of caffeine. Explain what and why.
A.
B.
2. Explain why salt (sodium chloride) is added to the water before the caffeine is extracted with solvent. What is
happening? Why? How?
3. You have a solution of 600 mg of caffeine dissolved in 100 mL of water. The partition coefficient for aqueous
caffeine extracted with Dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) is 4.6. Show all calculations for the following:
a. How many mgs caffeine would be extracted from the 100 mL of water containing 600 mg of caffeine
with one portion of 60 mL of dichloromethane?
b. How many mgs caffeine would be extracted from the 100 mL of water containing 600 mg of caffeine
with two 30 mL portions of dichloromethane?
c. How many mgs caffeine would be extracted from the 100 mL of water containing 600 mg of caffeine
with three 20 mL portions of dichloromethane?
4. Consider the chemicals used for this experiment (MSDS sheets found online). What realistic hazards are
present? What safety procedures are necessary beyond wearing goggles and gloves?
7
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
5. Recreate and complete the following tables of chemical data in your laboratory notebook:
Structure
Solids
Solubility
Crystal form & color
m.p. C
in Water @
25oC
Caffeine
in Water @
100oC
Density
Liquids
Solubility in
Water
Dipole
Moment
b.p. C
When mixed
with water this
liquid will be
the top or
bottom layer?
Ethyl acetate
Dichloromethane
8
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction:
Name______________
Pre Lab Exercises
Week 2:
1. Assume that substance “C” has a distribution coefficient (Kd) of 4.6 between methylene chloride and water. If
52 mg of “C” are added to a vial containing 2 mL of water and 2 mL of methylene chloride, how many mg “C”
would be in each layer after the mixture had been mixed thoroughly?
2. Suggest a reason why caffeine is much less soluble in a solvent such as hexane than in dichloromethane.
3. Explain why four extractions using 25mL of solvent is more effective than one extraction using 100 mL.
4. Why do we add solid anhydrous MgSO4 or Na2SO4 to an extracted caffeine solution?
B. What is the MgSO4 or Na2SO4 doing chemically?
5. Explain how sublimation is used to purify caffeine. Draw a typical apparatus for performing a sublimation:
A. Under vacuum (reduced pressure)
B. At atmospheric pressure.
6. How does one take a melting point of a sublimable solid?
9
CH241 Lab 6: Caffeine Extraction (F14)
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