Does Decaffeinated Green Tea Retain its Health Benefits?

We have received several questions asking if decaffeinated green tea loses its health benefits due to the decaffeination process. The answer is yes, if the wrong decaffeination process is used.

Several studies have shown that drinking green tea can decrease a person’s risk of cancer and heart disease. The tea’s naturally occurring chemical compounds called polyphenols provide these health benefits.

The main polyphenols in tea are catechins, which include EGCG, the compound epigallocatechin gallate. EGCGs inhibit unhealthy cell growth and play a role in programmed cell death, both of these actions are crucial to the prevention and control of cancer.

Other polyphenols, contained in the tea, are potent antioxidants which help prevent damage to healthy cells, as well as preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol caused by free radicals. These preventative functions are critical for inhibiting the formation of plaque in the arteries or atherosclerosis.

Decaffeination Process

The decaffeination process does affect the amounts of polyphenol in tea, including catechins. There are two decaffeination methods used on teas imported into the United States, ethyl acetate and CO₂ (effervescence).

Ethyl acetate is the most commonly used method, it consists of a chemical solvent that is applied to tea to extract the caffeine. The tea is then left with a residual amount of the solvent which is considered, at certain levels, to be safe for human consumption.

Green tea that has been decaffeinated using ethyl acetate retains minimal health benefits, at only about 30% of EGCG and other catechins.

CO₂ (effervescence)

CO₂ (effervescence) processing consists of carbon dioxide and water to remove caffeine from tea. This is the only type of decaffeinated teas that we sell at ESP Emporium because they keep an impressive 95% of the polyphenols and catechins in the tea.

Being able to keep the most amount of the tea’s good health promoting benefits makes the CO₂ method of decaffeination the only option in our opinion since we strive to provide the most beneficial and wholesome selection of teas available.

Don’t let the Wording Mislead You

Most decaffeinated teas don’t state which process is used. Several tea packages will contain the wording “naturally decaffeinated”. This is a term that can mean ethyl acetate decaffeination was the method used, since trace amounts of naturally occurring ethyl acetate exists in tea leaves.

Even though this isn't a false statement, it isn't informing the consumer of what was lost in tea. The statement makes the process sound like all of the health benefits were left intact in the tea.

This is why, as with anything, you need to be cautious about who you are purchasing your tea from and the quality they are providing. ESP Emporium has become an industry leader by gaining the trust of our customers.

We have a reputation for offering only the best quality teas that have been processed, packaged and shipped to retain their natural benefits.

Comments (3) -

  • Shiela

    6/11/2015 3:32:59 PM |

    Thank you for the article. I am very health conscious and try to watch everything that goes into my body, gain the most benefits possible without adding anything unnecessary or harming my body.

    So since I want to limit my caffeine intake I was concerned about losing out on the health benefits that green tea has to offer. Thank you for clearing this up for me.

  • Meghan

    6/11/2015 4:20:41 PM |

    I hear ya! To be honest with you ESP is one tea retailer that I can honestly vouch for as providing premium quality product that is the freshest you can receive, without harmful additives and at a very affordable price. They also take great care to make sure your order arrives in excellent condition and is packaged so it will stay fresh until you use it up.

  • James

    6/14/2015 11:47:35 PM |

    I'm glad to see that you use the CO2 method of decaffeination with your teas. I'm not a big fan against putting any unnecessary chemicals in my body. I sure don't see the benefit in putting potentially harmful chemicals into my body just to lessen the harmful caffeine and removing the natural health benefits of the tea itself on top of it. That all sounds really counter productive to me.

    I also appreciate you bringing to light the fact that other companies are doing this and creating a potentially harmful product while diminishing the helpful effects of the natural product. Keep up the good work and I look forward to more enlightening articles.

Pingbacks and trackbacks (1)+

Comments are closed