Effect of Water Hardness on Catechin and Caffeine Content in Green Tea Infusions.Molecules. 2021 Jun 08; 26(12)M
The health benefits of green tea are associated with its high catechin content. In scientific studies, green tea is often prepared with deionized water. However, casual consumers will simply use their local tap water, which differs in alkalinity and mineral content depending on the region. To assess the effect of water hardness on catechin and caffeine content, green tea infusions were prepared with synthetic freshwater in five different hardness levels, a sodium bicarbonate solution, a mineral salt solution, and deionized water. HPLC analysis was performed with a superficially porous pentafluorophenyl column. As water hardness increased, total catechin yield decreased. This was mostly due to the autoxidation of epigallocatechin (EGC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and caffeine showed greater chemical stability. Autoxidation was promoted by alkaline conditions and resulted in the browning of the green tea infusions. High levels of alkaline sodium bicarbonate found in hard water can render some tap waters unsuitable for green tea preparation.