Categories
Food Chemistry

Why is Coffee Bitter? – The Chemistry of Coffee

Mention coffee, and caffeine is the chemical compound name that immediately springs to mind. However, whilst caffeine’s effects on the brain are well documented – it binds to adenosine receptors in the brain – it has relatively little impact when it comes to the taste of coffee. Coffee, as it turns out, is a cornucopia […]

Categories
Food Chemistry

The Chemistry of an Onion

The latest in the series of food chemistry graphics looks at the chemistry of onions – specifically, what causes their odour, and why chopping onions will make your eyes water. Interestingly, none of the compounds that cause these effects are present in the intact onion; rather, when the cell walls of the onion are damaged […]

Categories
Food Chemistry

Why Chilli Peppers are Spicy: The Chemistry of a Chilli

The idea for this graphic came to me whilst saving the chilli peppers from a forlorn looking, aphid-infested chilli plant that’s probably on its metaphorical last legs. I thought it would be quite interesting to look at the origin of the heat in chilli peppers, and how this can be quantified.