* Bristol ChemLabS Schools' Laboratory Programme

Caffeine Extraction Workshop Day



Bristol ChemLabS is making available its recently refurbished undergraduate teaching laboratories to groups of school students to support regional Chemistry teachers. The laboratories are the best of their type in the UK and amongst the very best teaching laboratories in the world.

This means opportunities for your students to study at a world-class university with world class facilities outside of undergraduate term time as well as on Wednesdays throughout the year.

The Caffeine Extraction Morning is one of several workshop days involving practical work designed by the Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow written in appropriate language.

Target Students

A maximum of 66 students. The group on the day may be made up of more than one school.


The number of teaching staff accompanying the student groups from each school should be what is considered appropriate by the local school rules, but there should be at least one teacher per group of up to 15 students.

Expected Timings



Arrival and welcome


Safety Briefing. Lab coats and safety glasses are issued.


Practical work in Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. There will be a 15 min break for drinks and biscuits mid morning.

12:40 - 13:40

Lunch. Students will be organising their own lunch but may use the seated are on level 2 if they bring a packed lunch.

13:40 -14:10

 A talk about what it is like to be an undergraduate student at Bristol usually given by the Widening Participation Office.


Talk by one of the Postgraduate or Postdoctoral Chemists on an appropriate area of their research.

14:40 - 15:55

The lecture demonstration ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’ on aspects of Atmospheric Chemistry (lots of experiments including minor explosions, liquid nitrogen and dry ice).





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Health and Safety

Extremely Important! Students and accompanying staff will be expected to follow the School of Chemistry's rules for visiting school scientists on health and safety in the laboratories as well as the specific health and safety requirements of the experiments.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.
Failure to observe these rules will result in no admittance to the laboratories for students or accompanying staff.

Click for full Bristol ChemLabS Health and Safety Rules

safety sign - no ballet shoes!

photo by riot_jane

The general rules include

Failure to observe safety rules including inappropriate clothing will result in no admission to the laboratories either for students or accompanying teachers.

Bristol ChemLabS has a more than sufficient supply of lab coats and safety glasses available for students and accompanying staff.  However, if students or staff wish to bring their own that is fine. Lab coats and safety glasses must be worn at all times in the laboratory. Failure to do so will result in no admittance to the laboratory or removal from it.

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Outline of Visit

Experiment: The Extraction of Caffeine from Tea Leaves

This is a tried and tested practical and has been successfully run with Y10 school students on several occasions.

Groups of 12 to 15 students will each have a postgraduate chemist as a demonstrator. It is not often that school students will have the opportunity to work with young professional scientists at such close quarters. All postgraduates (and technicians) are CRB checked through the Science and Engineering Ambassadors (SEAs) Programme.

The experiment uses solvents and equipment not normally used at GCSE. The equipment includes Buchner funnels, heating mantles, separation funnels and vacuum distillation apparatus. The beauty of the experiment, from a KS4 point of view, is that it uses a natural product from which a common compound is extracted.

Tour of the School of Chemistry

Where numbers allow students will be taken on a 30 minute tour of the department in 2 groups during the afternoon during the lunch break or outside of the schedule described earlier.


Drinks and biscuits are provided.

Students may eat their own lunch in the School of Chemistry before departure if required.

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Please contact t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk. for details.

Careers Advice

Students with Special Needs

The teacher in charge of the visit is expected to notify the School of Chemistry in sufficient time if there are students with special needs so that appropriate risk assessments can be carried out.


Photography of the day's activities is welcomed. Teaching staff have found that images taken in the laboratory make good copy for school websites and newsletters. Images may be taken by School of Chemistry staff for our own websites, articles and other publications. Each school is requested to complete the consent form found at: http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/Documents/PhotoConsentForm.pdf and return it to Steve Croker by post or fax.

Arriving by Coach or Minibus.

There is no coach parking and very limited minibus parking (by prior booking chem_net@bristol.ac.uk). Coaches can drop off and collect students at a safe point opposite the entrance to Cantock's Close on Woodland Road.

A Map for the School of Chemistry, BS81TS. can be found by clicking here


Please contact The School Teacher Fellow for any queries at t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk


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