Best Loose Leaf for Catechin Content

by Alberto Bessudo
(Rehovot, Israel)

First of all, thank you so much for this great site. It is very helpful!

I am moving from coffee to green tea for medical reasons. Here come many questions, I hope i am not much of a bother. I would like to go for a green tea with high catechin content, in particular ECGC.

You indicate that the tea with higher catechins content is loose green leaf tea. But I couldn't find a recommendation of a specific loose leaf green tea with high catechins content.

From what I understood, Sencha teas would have high catechins content. Is this correct?
Is there another green tea type with higher catechin content?

From the Sencha teas, you mention that the Fukamushi is steamed longer. Since enzymes are better neutralized under longer steaming, is it reasonable to expect: less oxidation, therefore higher levels of antioxidants, among them catechins?

Yet, this would be in contradiction with the less astringent flavor found in the Fukamushi (astringency in green tea, isn't it supposed to be due to the catechins?)

Would you brew the tea leaves in water with lemon for higher catechin extraction? Is there knowledge about this?, Or would you add the lemon only after the brewing? Is there knowledge that the lemon does not destroy the catechins?

I guess not since the tea goes to the stomach which has high acidity, but if you have more information on this it would be great.

Your recommendation for brewing temperature is 70 to 85 deg C. But literature indicates a much better catechin extraction at higher temperature. Any comment on this?

My first tea buy is a green tea from Hyleys brand. Ultra-cheap. The leaves are large, which I read somewhere that have higher catechin content. The leaves fome rolled like balls (partial rolled) and they open into full leaves, which would indicate high quality.

The leaves smell fresh in the package. The resulting tea is yellow-orange and with not much flavor. Do you know this tea? Please feel free to comment and criticize. Thank you!

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Mar 16, 2017
by: Julian

Alberto, many questions you have so I will keep it as succinct as possible.

The highest quality tea are tea buds that are harvested in early spring, full stop. It could be Chinese, Japanese or Korean. It could be sencha or Longjing. You want to buy from tea gardens that harvest their teas once a year - in spring. Preferably in high mountain away from road traffic and pollution.

There is substantial research that shows that tea buds harvested earlier in spring is higher grade and contains more soluble solids such as catechins, caffeine and theanine.

Tea is a blend of these three compounds, catechin is astringent, caffeine is bitter and theanine is sweet.

Amongst the three, theanine is the most important indication of quality. Highest quality tea contains the most catechins, but it also has much more theanine, it tastes sweet but not astringent.

The Oriental people don't drink their teas with nothing added, not lemon not sugar. However, there are studies that found that drinking green tea with lemon help with the absorption of antioxidants, making them more potent.

Brewing temperature is tea dependent. Japanese tea requires much lower temperature compared to Chinese tea.

Green tea with large leaves are definitely not an indication of quality. A classic Longjing tea bud is described as having one pointed unopened tea bud with two adjacent recently sprouted leaves, see pictures in the page below. There is white downy hairs on the tea buds. These are indication of quality.

Longing Tea - World's Best Green Tea

Other indication of quality:
- Tea buds can be infused three times
- Highly refreshing and calm energy
- Flavors are tea dependent, but high quality tea has more complex flavors with greater purity

Young tea buds are also the safest to drink with the least side effects as tea is accumulator, they accumulator contaminants from soil and air. Young tea buds contain little impurities are they have only sprouted for a short time in winter and spring (where they experience a growth spurt in the space of a few days before they are plucked off).

Hope this helps!

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