Here's what caffeine looks like under a microscope

By Jeff Ayers — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

We all know what caffeine is: the amazing chemical compound that lives in your coffee and keeps you alert and awake. It's the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but what is it really? What does it look like?

If you have had multiple cups of coffee in the morning, caffeine probably looks something like this:

But there is real science behind what caffeine actually is. Let's start with the basics. Have you ever wondered what the chemical composition of caffeine is? Caffeine in its purest form is a white, bitter organic compound found in many seeds and plants around the tropic or sub-tropic regions of the world. In fact, caffeine is a natural pesticide for these plants and keeps the bugs at bay.

When you put a bunch of these chemical compounds together and look at them using dark-field microscopy you get a picture of fibrous white strands that look like this:

White strands of caffeine under a microscope

Pretty cool, right? But what if we get even closer? If you look at caffeine crystals under a high powered scanning electron microscope, these white strands look even crazier.

Scanning electron microscopic image of caffeine

This image is colored after it was taken in black and white, but it still gives you the best idea of what caffeine actually looks like at only 40 microns in length. (That is a mere .0016th of an inch!) 

Now that you know what the caffeine looks like, go brew a pot of The World's Strongest Coffee and pour yourself a cup of delicious black brew.

RELATED: Here's Why Coffee is Actually Good For You


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