Effect of brewing conditions on caffeine content in tea infusions simulating home-made cup of tea

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To answer the question “How much caffeine do I have in my cup of tea?” we have developed a simple isocratic HPLC method with UV detection for determination of caffeine. The optimized method exhibits high repeatability; the retention time RSD was lower than 0.4% and RSD of the peak area was lower than 3.5%. The method was applied to five types of tea in loose leaf form differing in level of fermentation (black, pu-erh, oolong, green, and white). The brewing conditions were chosen to be as close as possible to domestic preparation of tea. In this study, we have focused on two important culinary factors: infusion time and brewing temperature. The results show that both investigated factors significantly influence the final content of caffeine in a cup of tea. Increase in caffeine content was up to 29% when the tea infusion was overextracted by 1 min. Increase was even higher (up to 66%) when boiling water was used instead of water of recommended temperature. It indicates that careful attitude to preparation of each type of tea is essential for caffeine content.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge Charles University, Project SVV260440, for the financial support.

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Correspondence to Anna Kubíčková.

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Musilová, A., Kubíčková, A. Effect of brewing conditions on caffeine content in tea infusions simulating home-made cup of tea. Monatsh Chem 149, 1561–1566 (2018) doi:10.1007/s00706-018-2204-0

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  • Caffeine
  • High-pressure liquid chromatography
  • Natural products
  • Tea
  • Extraction