Caffeine This is why the world produces more than 16 billion pounds of coffee beans per year. It's actually an alkaloid plant toxin (like nicotine and cocaine), a bug killer that stimulates us by blocking neuroreceptors for the sleep chemical adenosine. The result: you, awake.
2-Ethylphenol Creates a tarlike, medicinal odor in your morning wake-up. It's also a component of cockroach alarm pheromones, chemical signals that warn the colony of danger.
Quinic acid Gives coffee its slightly sour flavor. On the plus side, it's one of the starter chemicals in the formulation of Tamiflu.
That rich, buttery taste in your daily jolt comes in part from this flammable yellow liquid, which helps give real butter its flavor and is a component of artificial flavoring in microwave popcorn.