Black tea represents a major source of dietary phenolics among regular tea drinkers.Free Radic Res. 2002 Oct; 36(10):1127-35.FR
The phenolic composition and antioxidant activities [TEAC, ORAC, FRAP] of consumer brews (1 tea bag in 230 ml for 1 min) of seven different brands of black tea from the British market were investigated. The main phenolic compounds identified were epigallocatechin gallate, four theaflavins, as well as epicatechin gallate, theogallin (tentative assignment), quercetin-3-rutinoside and 4-caffeoyl quinic acid. Thearubigins represented an estimated 75-82% of the total phenolics. Further, polyphenol fractions were in decreasing order theaflavins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, gallic acids and hydroxycinnamates. On average, a cup of a consumer brew of black tea is providing polyphenols at the level of 262mg GAE/serving, of which 65 mg were assigned to individual polyphenols. The antioxidant activity of black tea preparations is higher than that of most reported dietary agents on a daily basis. Correlations were observed between the antioxidant activities and the sum of all quantified polyphenols by HPLC analysis as well as with the total phenolics. Treatment of the black tea brew with simulated gastric juice resulted in a significant increase of the identified theaflavins implying a partial cleavage of thearubigins in the environment of the gastric lumen. Therefore, black tea can be considered to be a rich source of polyphenols and/or antioxidants.