Theobroma Cacao

Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa beans and dark chocolate. The alkaloid contains a structure that is similar to caffeine. However, the compound’s effects are about 10 times weaker compared with caffeine, according to an entry posted on the Phytochemicals website.

Cocoa beans contain significantly high theobromine levels at about 25 grams per kilogram, while dark chocolate contains about 10 g/kg and milk chocolate at about two to five g/kg. Aside from chocolates, theobromine can also be found in great abundance in teas and cola nuts.

The compound was first isolated from cacao beans in 1878. Theobromine comes from Theobroma, the genus name for the cacao plant. The word Theobroma means “food of gods” in Greek. The alkaloid is subsequently synthesized from xanthine. Hence, this synthesized compound is called xantheose.