Determination of quality constituents in the young leaves of albino tea cultivars.Food Chem. 2014 Jul 15; 155:98-104.FC
Albino tea has received increased attention due to its brisk flavour. To identify changes in the key chemical constituents conveying important qualities to albino tea, the metabolite profiles of four albino cultivars and one green tea cultivar were analysed. Compared to the green tea control, significantly decreased contents of chlorophyll (Chl) (p<0.01), total carotenoids (p<0.05), caffeine (p<0.01), and total catechins (p<0.05) were found in albino tea leaves with a few exceptions, whereas increases were noted in the Chl a/b ratio and the contents of both zeaxanthin and free amino acids, including theanine. Multivariate analysis identified catechins and carotenoids as the most important contributors to the metabolic profile variance between the albino and green tea cultivars. High levels of amino acids, along with low levels of chlorophylls, catechins and caffeine, contribute to the qualities of albino tea, which include reduced astringency and bitterness, along with a strong umami taste.