The British have experimented with coffee leaf tea at least since the 1840s, so this is by no means a new invention. However, coffee leaf tea didn’t become a commercial product since Great Britain instead chose to invested their time and money into developing the Indian tea industry during that time.
The Telegraph reported yesterday that researchers recently tested 23 different types of coffee plants. The researchers found that 7 of the plants contained large amounts of the substance mangiferin, whose name reveals that it was first found in mangos. The coffee plant Coffea arabica was especially rich in this substance. This coffee plant also proved to be extremely rich in antioxidants.
Coffee leaf tea is therefore much richer in antioxidants than ordinary coffee and tea, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the beverage is more wholesome. More research is needed. The coffee leaves also contain a relatively small amount of caffeine.
The beverage is furthermore described as having a mild and earthy taste. Tea taster Alex Probyn describes the flavour as fresh, and similar to that of cut grass and green tea. He also mentions that the beverage is nothing like coffee.
The study was published in the scientific journal Annals of Botany in August 2012 under the title A survey of mangiferin and hydroxycinnamic acid ester accumulation in coffee (Coffea) leaves: biological implications and uses.