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Title:
A PROCESS FOR PRODUCING A TEA PRODUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/009078
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a process for producing a black leaf tea product, the process comprising the steps of comminuting fresh tea leaf thereby producing dhool; and then fermenting the dhool whilst exposing it to radiation having a wavelength of from 0.3 to 100 μm and an intensity of from 0.4 to 50 kW/m2 for 10 minutes to 3 hours at a temperature of 15-45 °C. The resulting black leaf tea product produces infusions high amounts of catechins and theaflavins.

Inventors:
BANDYOPADHYAY, Prasun (Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Research Centre64 Main Road,Whitefield, Bangalore 6, 560 06, IN)
GHOSH, Chandra, Sekhar (Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Research Centre64, Main Road,Whitefield, Bangalore 6, 560 06, IN)
MUKHOPADHYAY, Reshmee (Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Research Centre64 Main Road,Whitefield, Bangalore 6, 560 06, IN)
Application Number:
EP2013/061991
Publication Date:
January 16, 2014
Filing Date:
June 11, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNILEVER N.V. (Weena 455, AL Rotterdam, NL-3013, NL)
UNILEVER PLC (Unilever House, 100 Victoria Embankment, London Greater London EC4Y 0DY, GB)
CONOPCO, INC., D/B/A UNILEVER (800 Sylvan Avenue, AG West S. Win, Englewood Cliffs New Jersey, 07632, US)
International Classes:
A23F3/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012069323A12012-05-31
Foreign References:
JPS6287047A1987-04-21
KR20090124269A2009-12-03
KR20090124269A2009-12-03
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Week 200914, Derwent World Patents Index; AN 2009-E77442, XP002688951
DATABASE FSTA [online] INTERNATIONAL FOOD INFORMATION SERVICE (IFIS), FRANkFURT-MAIN, DE; RAMASWAMY S ET AL: "Factors responsible for blackness of CTC teas.", XP002688952, Database accession no. FS-1983-09-H-1290
DATABASE EPODOC [online] EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE, THE HAGUE, NL; XP002689092, Database accession no. GE-AP1998003168-A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CLARKE, Christopher, John (Unilever Patent Group, Olivier van Noortlaan 120, AT Vlaardingen, NL-3133, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 . A process for preparing a black leaf tea product comprising the steps of: a) comminuting fresh tea leaf thereby producing dhool; and,

b) fermenting the dhool whilst exposing it to radiation having a wavelength of from 0.3 to 100 μιτι and an intensity of from 0.4 to 50 kW/m2 for 10 minutes to 3 hours at a temperature of 15-45 °C.

2. A process as claimed in claim 1 comprising an additional step of withering in between step (a) and step (b).

3. A process as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the radiation intensity is in the range of 0.4 to 30 kW/m2.

4. A process as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3 wherein the source of the radiation is a lamp.

5. A process as claimed in claim 4 wherein the lamp is an infrared lamp.

6. A process as claimed in claim 4 wherein the lamp is a sun lamp.

7. A process as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6 wherein the distance between the dhool and the source of the radiation is from 10 to 35 cm.

8. A process as claimed in any of claims 1 to 7 wherein the dhool is continuously agitated during fermentation.

9. A process as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8 wherein the temperature is maintained by circulating air.

10. A process as claimed in claim 9 wherein the air is circulated by a fan.

Description:
A PROCESS FOR PRODUCING A TEA PRODUCT Technical Field

The present invention relates to a process for producing a black tea product having a high polyphenol content.

Background and prior art

Most tea consumed is green tea or black tea. Green tea contains a high amount of catechins with no perceivable amount of theaflavins whereas black tea contains a higher amount of theaflavins and a lower amount of catechins than green tea. The taste of black tea is different from that of green tea. Some consumers prefer green tea and others prefer black tea. Consumers who prefer black tea are unable to get the health benefits of catechins because the amount of catechins in black tea is lower than green tea.

Treatments to increase the total polyphenols in black tea infusions are known. GE20001998 (Mirza et. al., 2000) discloses a method comprising withering, twisting, sorting and fermenting tea leaves, and then treating them with infra-red rays and drying the tea leaves. The fermentation is effected in two stages: after the first stage (40 - 50 minutes), the tea leaves are treated with hot air at 50- 60°C or by infra-red rays having an intensity of 2-4 kW/m 2 at a specific loading of 1 .5-3 kg/ m 2 of the tea mass for 4-8 minutes to a residual humidity of 30-40 percent of the tea leaves. Then the second stage of fermentation takes place (4-6 hours). Drying is effected by infra-red rays having an intensity of 6-9 kW/m 2 at a specific loading 2.5-4 kg/ m 2 of the tea mass for 6-12 minutes or at a temperature of 80-90°C.

KR20090124269 (SEO et. al., 201 1 ) discloses a method for increasing the content of GABA of a green tea comprising the step of treating a green tea in the tea field for 2-4 hours after sunset for 30 days before leaf collection by using at least one treatment selected from the group consisting of far infrared treatment with 100-250W far infrared rays, visible light treatment with 200W visible rays and ultraviolet light treatment with 10-40W UV rays. None of the prior art discloses a process by which one can increase the total polyphenol content, catechin content, theaflavin content and also deliver higher soluble solids in the end cup infusion.

Therefore there is a need for a tea product which contains a significant amount total polyphenols, catechins and theaflavins and which has the appearance and organoleptic properties of black tea, so that it is liked by consumers of black tea, and which delivers higher amount of soluble solids at the end cup infusion, without the addition of any exogenous catechins and/or theaflavins. Objects of the invention

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a black leaf tea product.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a black leaf tea product with relatively high amount of catechins and theaflavins without the addition of any exogenous catechins and/or theaflavins.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a black leaf tea product which provides an increased amount of soluble solids in the final infusion.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a black leaf tea product with an increased amount of polyphenols. We have found that fermenting macerated tea leaves whilst exposing them to radiation of particular wavelengths (especially visible and infrared radiation) and intensities at a particular temperature range provides a tea product with high amount of catechins and theaflavins.

Summary of the invention

The present invention provides a process for preparing a black leaf tea product comprising the steps of:

a. comminuting fresh tea leaf thereby producing dhool; and,

b. fermenting the dhool whilst exposing it to radiation having a wavelength of from 0.3 to 100 μιτι and an intensity of from 0.4 to 50 kW/m 2 for 10 minutes to 3 hours at a temperature of 15-45 °C.

Any feature of one aspect of the present invention may be utilized in any other aspect of the invention. The word "comprising" is intended to mean "including" but not necessarily "consisting of or "composed of." In other words, the listed steps or options need not be exhaustive. Except in the operating and comparative examples, or where otherwise explicitly indicated, all numbers in this description indicating amounts of material or conditions of reaction, physical properties of materials and/or use are to be understood as modified by the word "about". Numerical ranges expressed in the format "from x to y" are understood to include x and y. When for a specific feature multiple preferred ranges are described in the format "from x to y", it is understood that all ranges combining the different endpoints are also contemplated.

Detailed description of the invention

"Leaf tea product" means a tea product that contains tea leaves, buds and/or stem in an un-infused form, and that has been dried to a moisture content of less than 30% by weight, and usually has a water content in the range 1 to 10% by weight (i.e. "made tea"). "Fresh tea leaf/leaves" refers to tea leaves and/or stem that have never been dried to a water content of less than 30% by weight, and usually have water content in the range 60 to 90%. The tea leaf may be obtained from Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and/or Camellia sinensis var. assamica. Preferably the tea leaves comprise material from var. assamica as this variety naturally has a high level of tea actives.

After the plucking, the fresh tea leaf is subjected to comminution/maceration, in order to damage the tea leaf so that it releases enzymes which can then undergo fermentation to produce the necessary sensorials for tea. This is preferably carried out by crushing, tearing and curling (CTC). One or more CTC steps may be carried out. Other methods which lead to substantial damage of the tea leaf can also be used. The macerated tea leaf is known as dhool.

Before comminution/maceration the fresh tea leaf is preferably subjected to a withering step. Withering is a process where plucked tea leaf is allowed to lose moisture over a period of time preferably in a shallow trough where biochemical reactions occur causing formation of many beneficial compounds including aroma compounds. Preferably fresh dry air is passed in a regulated manner through the leaf to speed-up the moisture loss. Generally withering is carried out for a period of 10 to 18 hours, preferably for 12 to 16 hours.

During fermentation, the dhool is exposed to radiation having a wavelength of from 0.3 to 100 μιτι and an intensity of from 0.4 to 50 kW/m 2 for from 10 minutes to 3 hours at a temperature of 15-45 °C. "Fermentation" refers to the oxidative and hydrolytic process that tea undergoes when certain endogenous enzymes and substrates are brought together, e.g. by mechanical disruption of the cells by maceration of the leaves. During this process colourless catechins in the leaves are converted to a complex mixture of yellow and orange to dark-brown polyphenolic substances. The intensity of the radiation energy is preferably from 0.4 to 40 kW/m 2 , more preferably 0.4-30 kW/m 2 . The wavelength is preferably less than 70 μιτι, more preferably less than 50 μιτι and most preferably in the range of 0.5-50 μιτι. The time of exposure is preferably from 30 minutes to 3 hours, more preferably from 45 minutes to 2 hours, most preferably from 60 minutes to 2 hours.

Any light source with the specified radiation energy intensity and wavelength may be used. Preferably the source is a lamp such as an IR lamp or a sun lamp. Generally, in a sun lamp, radiation is generated by a xenon arc lamp and filtered through an optical filter (coated quartz filter segment). An exhaust fan can control the internal temperature of the device. Typically the radiation from a sun lamp is 2-10% ultraviolet (UV), 30-55% visible and 45-68% Infrared (IR).

Preferably during fermentation the dhool is on a flat surface and the source of radiation is above the dhool. The distance between the dhool and the source of radiation is preferably 10-35 cm, more preferably 10-30 cm, and most preferably 10-25 cm.

Preferably during fermentation and exposure to the radiation, the dhool is continuously agitated to ensure that all of the dhool is equally exposed to the radiation energy. This can be done manually or by an automated system.

The temperature of the dhool during exposure is important. Too high a temperature with long exposure to radiation may burn the leaf. The temperature of the treatment is from 15-45°C, preferably 20 - 45°C, more preferably 25 - 40°C, most preferably 30 - 40°C. Since the radiation produces heat, the temperature of the dhool must be maintained in the required range by some arrangement, for example by circulating air which dissipates the heat generated by the radiation. The circulation of air is preferably carried out by a fan. The invention will now be demonstrated with the help of examples, which are for the purpose of illustration, and in no way limit the scope of the invention.

Examples

Examples 1 - 6 and Comparative Examples A -C

Black leaf tea products according to the invention were prepared from fresh tea leaves of Camellia Sinensis collected from tea gardens in southern India. The tea leaves were withered for 18 hours in an open atmosphere at ~25°C to reduce their moisture content to -72%. The leaves were then passed through a CTC 4 times to obtain macerated dhool. This dhool was then fermented for 30- 90 minutes at a temperature of around 35°C whilst being exposed to radiation. The dhool was then dried in tray drier at 1 10°C to a moisture content of 5%. The Examples were made with different radiation intensities, wavelengths, fermentation times and temperatures. The distance between the light source and the dhool was 12 cm for all examples and comparative examples, except for Example 6, in which it was 25cm.

Two different radiation sources were used:

(i) a Sun lamp (SUNTEST CPS+ Sunlamp, Model No: 55007017, with a temperature controller), obtained from ATLAS Material Testing Solutions,

GmbH, Germany. The light source was a Xenon Lamp and the wavelength range was from 0.35 to 0.9 μιτι (5% Ultraviolet, 45% visible and 50% Infrared).

(ii) an IR lamp (Short & Mid Wave Quartz T/T Infra Red emitter 23x1 1 with Gold Reflector, lamp length 430mm with cooling fan obtained from Heraeus Noblelight GmbH, Germany) with a wavelength range from 1 to 10μηη

Control black tea products were prepared as comparative examples using the same procedure as above, except that:

• Example A: the dhool was fermented for around 60 minutes at ~25°C without being exposed to radiation (i.e. a conventional process). • Example B: the dhool was fermented for around 60 minutes under the sun lamp with a radiation intensity of 0.2 kW/m 2 (outside the scope of the invention) at a temperature of around 35°C.

• Example C: the dhool was fermented for around 60 minutes under the 5 IR-lamp with a radiation intensity of 24 kW/m 2 , at a temperature of around 55°C (outside the scope of the invention).

Infusions of the black leaf tea products were prepared by adding 100 ml_ of boiling water to 2g of the tea product, allowing it to stand for 2 minutes, stirring 10 once and then straining. Theaflavin, catchin, and total polyphenol contents and total soluble solids of the infusions were measured, together with the colour (a * value), using the following methods.

Theaflavins (TF) content

15 Samples were analysed by HPLC using an octadecylsilica (C18) column (Nova- pak ex. Waters, 3.9 mm i.d. 150 mm) with detection at a wavelength of 380 nm, column temperature of 40°C, injection volume of 20 μΙ_ and flow rate of 1 mL/min. The mobile phases were 2% (v/v) acetic acid in water (mobile phase A) and acetonitirile (mobile phase B). A linear gradient from 8% B to 69% B over

20 50 minutes was used to separate the theaflavins, following which the column was equilibrated with 8% of mobile phase A for 5 min. Pure theaflavins ( Sigma Aldrich, > 90%, HPLC grade) were used as the standard for quantification.

Catechin content:

25 Total catechin contents were determined using the ISO method for the determination of catechins in green and black tea, using high performance liquid chromatography (ISO 14502-2:2005).

Total polyphenols (TPP) content: Total polyphenols contents were determined using the ISO method for the determination of content of total polyphenols in tea - Colorimetric method using Folin-Cicalteu reagent (ISO 14502-1 :2005). Total soluble solids (TSS) measurement:

The total soluble solids content was measured using (ISO9768:1994 (E)). A dry pan was placed in a hot air oven at 1 10°C for 2 hours. The pan was then placed in a dessicator for weighing. 2 g of black tea was placed in a paper cup, 100 ml_ of water at 100°C was added and the infusion was stirred for 2 minutes. The infusion was then filtered using a Whatman 541 filter paper. The filtrate was collected in a beaker and the volume made up 100 ml_ with deionised water. The 100ml of hot tea liquor was put in the weighed pan and placed on a water bath at 90-100°C. After the water in the infusion had completely evaporated, the bottom of the pan was wiped with a clean cloth to remove any remaining water. The pan was then placed in a hot air oven for drying for 12 hrs at 1 10°C. The final weight of the pan was taken and the initial weight was subtracted to obtain the amount of soluble solids in the infusion.

Colour measurement:

CIE L * a * b * values were measured at room temperature (~25°C) using an Ultrascan XE (Model-USXE/UNI version 3.4, Hunterlab Associates Laboratories Inc. Virginia). A halogen cycle lamp was used as the light source. The illuminant was D65 and the measurements were made at 10°observer angle. A quartz cuvette of 10 mm path length was filled up to the brim with the infusion and placed in the instrument for measurement. The instrument was calibrated using a standard white tile (Hunterlab Duffuse/8°, mode-RSEX, Port-1 " and area- large) in accordance with the instruction manual. The maximum value for L * is 100, which represents a perfect reflecting diffuser. The minimum is L * =0, which represents black. The a * and b * axes have no specific numerical limits. Positive a * is red and negative a * is green. Similarly, positive b * is yellow and negative b * is blue. The higher the a * value, the redder the infusion is.

Table 1 shows the effect of varying the radiation intensity, for a fermentation / exposure time of 60 minutes. It is evident that Examples 1 , 2 and 3 provide tea products which result in infusions with higher theaflavins, catechins, TSS, and TPP as well as being more red coloured ( higher a * value).

Table 1 :

Table 2 shows the effect of varying the fermentation / exposure time using the IR lamp (intensity: 24 kW/m 2 ). It is evident that a fermentation / exposure time of 60 or 90 minutes results in products which produce infusions with higher theaflavins, catechins, TSS and TPP and also more red colour (higher a * value) than a time of 30 minutes.

Table 2:

Example Fermentation TF Catechins TSS TPP a * Value time (minutes)

mg / 100ml_

4 30 6.3 22 0.41 123 29

3 60 7.8 24 0.42 145 31

5 90 7.1 26 0.42 142 30 Table 3 shows the effect of varying the distance between the dhool and the source of radiation using the IR lamp (intensity: 24 kW/m 2 ) with a fermentation / exposure time of 60 minutes. It is evident that the shorter distance between the dhool and the source of radiation resulted in a tea product which produced an infusion with higher amounts of theaflavins, catechins, TSS and TPP, and also a higher a * value.

Table 3:

Using a higher fermentation temperature (55°C) with the IR lamp (intensity: 24 kW/m 2 ) and a fermentation / exposure time of 60 minutes (Comparative Example C) produced a tea product with a bunt/charred smell. The resulting infusion tasted like a burnt liquid and was not pleasant to consume. It is evident that this higher temperature is not suitable for the process of the invention.

Example 7 and Comparative Examples D and E

Further black leaf tea products were prepared using the orthodox process for the production of black tea, instead of CTC, as follows. Fresh tea leaves of Camellia Sinensis were collected from tea gardens of southern India. The tea leaves were withered for nearly 18 hours to reduce the moisture content to around 60%. The withered leaves were then pressed by an orthodox roller for 2.5 hours. An orthodox roller consists of three parts- the table, the hood and the pressure cap. Rotation of the machine is achieved through three crank shafts attached to the table. The level gear mechanism transmits power to one of the crankshafts at a time, while the other two rotate freely on their bearings and play an auxiliary role. The pressure cap applies pressure to the leaf mass during rolling, imparting a twisting and brushing action. Then the tea leaves were fermented for 4 hours at atmospheric condition (temperature ~25°C). Finally the fermented leaves were dried in tray drier at 100°C to reduce the moisture content to -5% (Comparative Example D).

Comparative Example E was produced in the same manner as Example D, except that during fermentation the leaves were exposed to radiation using the IR lamp (intensity 10 kW/m 2 and wavelength 1 -10 μιτι) on two occasions, twice for 5 minutes each time. The first exposure took place after 50 minutes fermentation, and the second one for the final 5 minutes of the 4 hours fermentation period. This example represents the orthodox production of black tea with a very little IR exposure as in GE20001998.

Example 7 was produced in the same manner as Example D, except that the leaves were exposed to radiation using the IR lamp for the initial 60 minutes of fermentation (i.e. in accordance with the process of the invention).

Infusions were produced from the leaf tea products, and their total polyphenol and catechin contents were measured and are given in Table 4. It is evident that Example 7 provides a better quality tea with higher TPP and catechins than Comparative Examples D and E.

Table 4:

Example TPP Catechins

mg/100ml_

D 24.94 9.77

E 24.46 9.78

7 32.66 15.35