Tea Ingredients | Catechin

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Catechins, a type of polyphenol unique to tea, have various beneficial effects, including lowering harmful cholesterol levels and reducing stress.

Here we provide basic information on catechins and how to obtain catechins from tea efficiently.

What is Catechin?

Catechins are a type of polyphenol, a component unique to and is the source of the astringent and bitter taste of tea.

They are sometimes called tannins, but strictly speaking, they broadly refer to “substances with skin-tanning properties,” so they do not mean precisely the same as catechins.

There are four main catechins in tea that are;

  • Epicatechin
  • Epicatechin gallate
  • Epigallocatechin and
  • Epigallocatechin gallate

Many of us have heard that “polyphenols are good for your health,” catechins are another ingredient with medically proven health benefits.

Each catechin has its own effects, and they also commonly have basic effects such as reduction of bad cholesterol.

Catechin attributes astringency in tea

Catechins are the components of the astringent taste of tea.

Catechins can bind and aggregate with proteins. When this happens on the tongue, they bind to proteins on the tongue, causing an astringent effect, which is the astringent taste.

The right amount of astringency adds depth and sharpness to the flavor of tea, making it an indispensable ingredient in tea flavor.

The red color of black tea and oolong tea is due to catechins

Oxidation of catechins results in the transformation of catechins into theaflavin/thearubigin coalescing catechins.

Catechins are colorless in aqueous solution, but these combined catechins have a reddish color, which is why black tea and oolong tea produced through oxidative fermentation have a reddish-bronze color.

Health effects of catechin

Health effects of catechin are listed below;

  1. Antibacterial / Detoxification
  2. Antioxidant
  3. Reduction of bad cholesterol
  4. Deodorization
  5. Stress-relief

Let’s see in order:

Antibacterial / Detoxification

Catechin has effects of antibacterial and detoxification.

Specifically, It has antibacterial activity against O-157, influenza, and the bacteria that cause mycoplasma pneumonia and has also been shown to inhibit the growth of food poisoning bacteria such as dysentery bacillus and cholera bacillus, as well as H. pylori.


Catechin has an antioxidant effect.

Antioxidant action can detoxify excess substances (reactive oxygen species) in the body. It is so essential that it is said to “prevent all diseases” and plays a role in preventing the aging of tissues and maintaining immunity.

Surprisingly, Catechins have an antioxidant power dozens of times greater than vitamins C and E. In addition to catechins, tea also contains antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins C and E, making it an extremely potent antioxidant drink.

With the data, no wonder it is said that tea is good for your health.

Reduction of bad cholesterol

Reduction of bad cholesterol is also an effect of catechin.

Cholesterol has 2 types that are “HDL cholesterol (good)” and “LDL cholesterol (bad)”. Catechin has an effect that reduces LDL cholesterol.

Particularly, it is said that epigallocatechin gallate rich in tea has more of the effect.

Suppression of fat absorption

When taken with meals, Catechins have the effect of reducing fat absorption.

As some commercially available food for specified health use, teas also take advantage of the benefits of these catechins; tea drink is a perfect countermeasure for obesity, which is a cause of various lifestyle-related diseases.

Prevent dementia

Dementia causes memory impairment and impaired judgment and has become one of the social problems.

One American study has shown that catechins are particularly effective in preventing Alzheimer’s dementia.


You may have heard that tea leaves have an effect of deodorization. This deodorization actually comes from catechin.

For instance, research done by Miki Ui. (1991) reports that chewing gums that contain catechin have an effect of oral deodorization.


You may feel relaxed while drinking tea. In fact, the effect of drinking tea that relieves stress and tension is scientifically proved.

Research done by Takako Yamato. (2012) indicates that drinking tea and catechin tea on the market brings these effects of;

  • stress/tension relief
  • counteraction of fatigue and mood enhancement

Also, drinking catechin-rich tea on the market has an effect of anti-depression and decreases low mood.

This shows that ingesting catechin by drinking tea can relieve your stress.

It is surprising that ordinary tea that we casually drink actually brings a variety of effects.

How to ingest catechin in tea

The amount of astringency varies with the cultivar. For example, the Assam cultivar produced in India and other countries contains more catechins than the Chinese cultivar widely produced in Japan.

Also, the production of catechins is inhibited by covered cultivation. In addition, second-and third-picked teas, which receive more sunlight, contain more catechins than first-picked teas.

Here are 3 tips to ensure the ingestion of catechin in tea;

  1. Use hot water at a high temperature
  2. Purchase second / third flush tea
  3. Eat the used up tea leaves

Let’s see in order.

Use hot water at a high temperature

Catechin has a characteristic that hardly dissolves at a low temperature.

Therefore, brewing the tea at a high temperature of 70°C or higher will result in a tea in which the catechin components are well dissolved. Although the astringent taste will be slightly more substantial, brewing at a higher temperature is recommended to obtain more catechins.

Purchase second / third-picked tea

Tea leaves are classified as first/second/third-picked teas by the harvest times of the year. First-picked is considered as the most premium and flavorful tea, but second and third-picked teas are recommended when expecting the ingestion of rich catechin.

Second and third-picked teas grow in the times that the daylight hours are long, which results in rich catechin produced by sunlight.

Therefore, try second / third flush teas when you want to take rich catechin.

Eat the used-up tea leaves

Although catechins are water-soluble, not all of them dissolve in hot water. Therefore, the best way to consume all the catechins in tea leaves is to eat the used-up tea leaves.