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Climate Affects Tea's Flavor and Health-Boosting Properties

Tea is tea, right? If only it were that simple. Farmers have long noticed that changing climate patterns—droughts or heavy rainy seasons, for example—can change the taste and quality of tea leaves. An extensive report, published recently in the American Botanical Council’s HerbalGram, confirms that these climate variations do in fact alter tea’s taste, along with its health-boosting properties. In the report, tea harvested during a drought was reported to have a more intense flavor, as well as more health-promoting compounds; these compounds are secondary metabolites that plants produce when under environmental stresses (such as a drought). Tea harvested during extreme rainy seasons was described as tasting more diluted, and the research indicated that key health-promoting compounds in the tea leaves (called catechins) decreased by as much as 50%. But what does this all mean for your afternoon cup?

  • Go for teas with intense, bitter flavors. There is some indication that this correlates to higher levels of certain health-promoting compounds, such as antioxidants.
  • Go for a standardized tea extract supplement. These tea extracts are concentrated to contain a certain amount of key health-promoting compounds—some contain up to 97% polyphenols.
Source: American Botanical Council

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