Tea chemistry is complex. Just how complex? Well, on the bush, tea leaves contain thousands of chemical compounds, when they are processed, these compounds break down, form complexes and form new compounds. When we steep tea leaves, our senses are tingled by the thousands of volatile compounds (collectively known as the “aroma complex”) from the tea liquor and the thousands of non-volatile compounds and the complexes between them. The green leaf of the tea plants contains more than 700 chemical compounds. However, out of these, polyphenols and caffeine are the two compounds which are commercially and biologically more important than the other constituents.
This lesson will introduce you to the various chemical components present in tea leaf.