Hot beverages are one of the most widely consumed drinks worldwide, with tea becoming increasingly more popular. Camellia Sinensis, the leaves used during the production of tea. Studies have shown that tea provides several health benefits such as protecting against cardiovascular disease and the management of cholesterol and obesity . The main antioxidants found in tea are catechins.
The composition of catechins in commercial teas vary due to the species of Camellia Sinensis used, horticultural conditions but most importantly, the degree of oxidation during the manufacturing process. Natural processes such as sun drying or steaming the leaves, therefore preventing oxidation, not only protects the tea flavour but also results in high catechin concentrations with lower caffeine amounts whereas harsh leaf processing results in lower catechins and higher caffeine concentrations. Due to the variability in the composition of catechins in tea, it is vital that catechins can be easily identified in a variety of tea products.
SCION Instruments developed a method for the identification of eight catechins commonly found in tea products as well as caffeine, by HPLC-UV Vis.