Green Tea Brands - What Catechins Levels?

by John
(Albany,NY,USA)

Where can I find information on how the various green tea brands and their catechins level?

A July/August 2006 issue of Men's Health,p 52 describes that the amount of catechins can vary considerably between different brands of green tea.

It gives Stash's Darjeeling Organic green tea high marks. Not so much Celestial Seasonings green tea.

Answer:

John, I strongly agree with the observation that catechins levels can vary significantly from tea to tea, brand to brand.

What many people forget is that tea is an agricultural product. Its raw content, and the subsequent processing and storage, can result in complex and unpredictable changes in quality.

Luckily, taste is as important as chemistry. In fact, the two is inseparable.

So we don't have to always rely on chemistry tests. We can and should be able to "taste" the difference.

But more on that later ... first back to your question.

I have a quick search on Men's Health and found this article entitled "It's In The Bag".

Catechins content are measured in milligram per gram:

Stash Darjeeling Organic Green Tea
TOTAL CATECHINS: 100
CAFFEINE: 22 milligrams (mg)

Peet's Sencha Japanese Green Tea
TOTAL CATECHINS: 76
CAFFEINE: 17 mg

Lipton 100% Natural Green Tea
TOTAL CATECHINS: 29
CAFFEINE: 8 mg

Celestial Seasonings Green Tea
TOTAL CATECHINS: 19
CAFFEINE: 6 mg

The results are very interesting. It is saying the Stash tea contains 5 times more catechins than Celestial Seasoning!

I am slightly surprised that even the Stash Darjeeling Organic green tea catechins level of 100 milligrams per gram is lower than the average quoted by the 2007 USDA Study, which found that on average hot regular tea contains 127 milligrams of catechins per gram.

Healthiest Green Tea

As far as I am aware, the USDA have not analysed tea bags and loose green tea separately, so the inclusion of loose green tea may be biasing their average upwards, but I am not 100% sure.

The 2003 study published in Nutrition And Cancer entitled "Catechins Content of 18 Teas" compared various tea bags from various tea brands.

Interestingly, authors Susanne Henning et all found that Celestial Seasoning came out on top in term of catechins content.

All figures below are quoted at milligram per gram:

Celestial Seasoning Authentic Green Tea
105.7

Lipton Green Tea
84.3

Uncle Lee's Green Tea
76.7

Bigelow Darjeeling Blend
68.1

The above studies only include tea bags, so does not tell the whole story. There are many reasons why loose green tea offers greater nutrition and better value for money compared to tea bags:

Loose Green Tea

Finally, be aware that high catechins content does not mean quality.

In a 2004 study, scientists discovered that the most important quality indicators are EGCG, theanine and caffeine, and singles the Dragon Well green tea as exhibiting these chemistry patterns.

The health benefits of EGCG is well documented. As you may be aware of, EGCG makes up about half of catechins, and is the single most potent compound in green tea.

Best Green Tea

I hope this helps.

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