As you sip your next cup of coffee, consider for a moment its historic origin and the storied travels of the beans whose infusion landed in your cup. Before humans ever cultivated coffee, wild coffee-bearing shrubs grew in the shade of tropical African forests. They produced in their leaves, berries, and seeds a potent chemical that served as a natural defense against pests and predators. Ironically, it was this same chemical -- caffeine -- that people found so pleasing and energizing that they took the plant to new environments across the globe.