1. Kola Nut
What: This nut grows in the flower of the kola tree, a type of evergreen tree.
Where: Found in most sub-saharan African countries, it is one of most popular sources of caffeine in Africa.
Uses: It is often chewed raw, but can also be brewed into a drink like coffee, which has a bitter flavor.
What: Cocoa solids are derived from the cocoa seeds, which makes chocolate.
Where: The cocoa tree is native to the Americas, but now much of it is grown in West Africa.
Uses: There are many uses for cocoa, but the important thing to know is that the more cocoa solids a chocolate contains (i.e. the darker the chocolate), the higher the caffeine content will be.
What: Guarana comes from a type of maple plant. The fruit of the plant is about the size of a coffee bean, but has twice the caffeine found in coffee beans.
Where: The plant is native to the Amazonian basin and is especially common in Brazil. Above a dancer wears an outfit decorated with guarana seeds during the annual Guarana Festival in the town of Maues, in the Brazilian Amazon. The town of Maues is nicknamed the “Land of Guarana” and is the host to the annual Guarana Festival, with the plant being the main source of income for the region.
Uses: The fruit is made into a shake above and is often added as a flavor in soft drinks.
What: Tea comes from the leaves of an evergreen plant. There are many varieties, and most are grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Much of the flavor comes from how the tea is processed.
Where: Tea has a long and sordid history, but it originated in China and is now consumed all over the world.
Uses: Commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over the leaves.
5. Yerba Maté
What: Yerba maté comes from the leaves of a type of holly tree.
Where: It is native to subtropical South America. It is consumed frequently in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.
Uses: The maté beverage is prepared by steeping the leaves of the yerba maté plant in hot water. Yerba maté contains caffeine, which is a xanthine, and it contains two other xanthines theobromine and theophylline that have their own beneficial effects.
6. Yaupon Holly
What: Also known as just yaupon, this caffeine comes from a type of holly tree.
Where: This tree is native to North America and is most common in the southeastern states.
Uses: The young leaves of this plant contains caffeine and can be made into a tea.
What: Guayusa comes from the leaves of another type of holly tree.
Where: Guayusa is native to the Amazonian Rainforest, growing in parts of Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.
Uses: After the leaves are picked, they are dried, which allows the flavor to develop. Then the dried leaves are boiled and consumed as a tea.
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