Recently, a study published in FoodIngredientsFirst showed that a Chinese native wild tea plant, red leaf tea, has almost no caffeine and is healthier than ordinary tea. Red leaf tea is a kind of wild tea found in the mountains of southern China, which is considered by local people to have therapeutic effects.
According to the statistics of the American Tea Association, in 2017 the United States consumed 4 billion gallons of tea, and 18% of the tea was caffeine-free tea. Producers use supercritical carbon dioxide or hot water to produce caffeine-free tea, which can affect the flavor of the beverage and destroy several of its beneficial ingredients.
The researchers collected buds and leaves during the growing season and analyzed them by high performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that the genes encoded by caffeine synthase in the tea were mutated (this enzyme is usually the cause of caffeine in tea), so HYC plants contain almost no caffeine, which potentially makes them a healthier plant than regular tea. Overall, the study concluded that it may become a popular and fashionable beverage due to its low caffeine levels and other health benefits.