Studies have shown that drinking tea helps in the fight against cancer, heart disease, inflammation, and other illnesses, but findings reveal that at least one antioxidant component of tea – catechin – varies widely among brands.

Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles Center for Human Nutrition found a strong variation between 20 different brands of tea tested. A sampling of the measured catechin content of a variety of green and black teas that were brewed for about 3 minutes each:


Catechin Content

Celestial Seasonings Green Tea 217 mg
Lipton Green Tea 201 mg
Bigelow Darjeeling Blend (black tea) 164 mg
Uncle Lee’s Green Tea 157 mg
Stash Premium Green Tea Decaf 53 mg
Twinings Earl Grey Black Tea 46 mg
Bigelow Constant Comment (black) 38 mg
Bigelow Constant Comment Decaf 10 mg
Lipton Lemon Iced Tea not measurable
Snapple Peach Iced Tea not measurable


Both black and green tea are derived from the same plant but are processed in different ways, which may account for some of the differences in antioxidant levels. Black tea makes up 80% of the tea consumed in the USA. Green tea is commonly thought to have more antioxidants than black tea. While this was often the case, there were significant exceptions.

A tea that contains trace amounts of antioxidants may yield vastly different health results from one that is loaded with them. Some companies promote their products as containing antioxidants, but without appropriate labelling it is another case of consumer beware!

Other significant antioxidant components not looked for in this study are flavonoids and thearubigins.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 130 – March/April 2002
Source: American Society for Clinical Nutrition
Last updated 2017-09-12.