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Are you curious about the ingredients in black tea? Knowing the ingredients can help you understand the effects of black tea. Let's explore the components of black tea together.

The Ingredients of Black Tea

Black tea is the most fermented and oxidized tea compared to green tea and oolong tea, which changes its ingredients. The unique characteristics of black tea ingredients are catechin and aroma components.


Catechin, a polyphenol and tannin, is a typical ingredient in tea that gives it an astringent taste.
However, in the case of black tea, catechin is transformed into theaflavin and thearbidine through oxidation.

Theaflavin / Thearbigin

Theaflavin and thearbigin are responsible for the red color of black tea, which is formed through the oxidation of catechin.

Catechin doesn't have any color, but theaflavin has an orange, and tearbigin has a red color. Therefore, the color of tea leaves changes from green to red-copper.

The more these ingredients are present, the deeper and brighter red the tea becomes.


Caffeine is another ingredient that gives tea its bitterness taste. It doesn't change during the processing of black tea leaves, meaning the amount of caffeine is the same before and after processing.

Caffeine is contained about 3% of the weight of the tea leaves, which is 2-3 times larger than the same amount of coffee beans. Although the amount of caffeine contained in a cup of tea is much smaller than coffee, the amount of tea leaves (or coffee beans) per cup is different, and caffeine is much easier to be extracted from crushing coffee beans.

Caffeine doesn't extract with 50-60℃ water, but it extracts well with hot water (higher than 80℃), which is why 95℃-100℃ water is typically used for black tea.


Saponin is another ingredient that contributes to the bitterness of the tea, but it is present in small quantities. Saponin acts as a surfactant, causing tea to foam slightly.

The amount is too small to expect its health benefit, but it is a constitution of bitter taste of the tea.

Amino acid

Tea lovers often talk about the umami flavor in their favorite brews. This flavor comes from a group of ingredients called amino acids, which are abundant in tea. The most common amino acid in tea is theanine, which makes up about 50% of the total amino acid content.

Black tea leaves contain amino acids that do not change through oxidation, but the final amount of amino acid in black tea is often less than that in green tea due to the lack of a covering process and the use of nitrogen fertilizer during cultivation. When brewing black tea with high temperatures, caffeine and catechin are extracted largely, resulting in bitterness and astringency that can mask the umami flavor from amino acids. As a result, it's rare for the taste of amino acids to stand out in black tea.

Aroma component

Tea leaves contain several aroma components that are intensified during the processing stages. Through the crumpling process, the cell walls of tea leaves are destroyed, and oxidation is intensified, resulting in the formation of flower- or fruit-like aroma components. However, green tea does not undergo oxidation, and therefore contains fewer aroma components. In fact, green tea only contains about 200 types of components, whereas black tea and oolong tea contain over 600 types.

The rich scent of tea is composed of various aroma components, such as linalool (lemon-like scent), geraniol (flower-like scent), methyl salicylate, and green leaf alcohol. These components contribute to the unique and delightful fragrance of tea.


Are you looking for a healthy source of vitamins? Look no further than fresh tea leaves! Loaded with vitamins A, C, E, B, and more, fresh tea leaves pack a powerful nutrient punch. However, it's important to note that during the processing of tea leaves, these vitamins can be oxidized and changed into other ingredients. As a result, black tea leaves may not contain significant amounts of vitamins. So, if you're looking to boost your vitamin intake, stick to fresh tea leaves and enjoy the benefits of this natural source of essential nutrients.


Chlorophyll is a green pigment that is found in fresh tea leaves. However, during the processing of tea leaves, the chlorophyll is oxidized and transformed into other components.

Many ingredients are contained in black tea leaves

As a result, black tea leaves contain very little chlorophyll. Black tea leaves consist of several ingredients, and the taste, aroma, and color of the tea are determined by these components. The quantity and type of components present in black tea leaves vary depending on the tea type and processing method. This variation is what makes each black tea unique.

January 08, 2023