Development of mint flavoured tea bags
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There has been an increased popularity and acceptance of herbal teas due to consumer awareness of nutritional and health benefits derived from their consumption. However, peppermint stands among the many underutilized plants with potential for processing into herb tea. The objectives of the study were (1) to determine the effect of peppermint concentration on the acceptability of mint flavored tea infusions; (2) to evaluate the antioxidant properties of the formulated herbal teas infusions – in order to evaluate their potential for food product development. Seven (7) peppermint-based herbal tea formulations were brewed with either black tea or hibiscus and then compared for sensory properties. The peppermint tea infusion was considered as the control. Thirty (30) untrained panelists conducted acceptance tests on infusions from seven formulations. Four formulations were selected for further analysis based on the results obtained from sensory evaluation. Standard methods were used to measure proximate parameters, pH, Vitamin C and Total Antioxidant Activity. The results of sensory analysis showed that herbal tea brewed from 100% mint was the most preferred in taste and overall acceptability while Mint 75% + Hibiscus 25% infusion was the least preferred herb tea in most of the sensory attributes. Results of chemical analysis revealed that Mint 50% + Hibiscus 50% sample had the least pH value of 4.07 while Mint 50% + Tea 50%, Mint 75% + Tea 25%, and Mint 100% samples had pH values of 6.14, 6.27 and 6.52 respectively. Regarding vitamin C content, sample Mint 50% + Tea 50% containing 50% peppermint and 50% black tea recorded the highest vitamin C content (46.67 mg/g) while herb tea from products Mint 75% + Tea 25%, Mint 50% + Hibiscus 50% and Mint 100% recorded vitamin C values of 39.67 mg/g, 37.33 mg/g and 28.00 mg/g respectively. Sample Mint 75% + Tea 25% containing 75% peppermint and 25% black tea recorded the highest total antioxidant value (203.91 mgGAE/g), followed by Mint 50% + Tea 50% sample with 201.35 mgGAE/g total antioxidant value, then Mint 100% sample, with 191.92 mgGAE/g total antioxidant value and finally Mint 50% + Hibiscus 50% sample had the least total antioxidant value of 198.91 mgGAE/g. This study provides evidence that blending Black tea or hibiscus with peppermint improves the sensory and antioxidant properties of the herb tea produced without compromising health-promoting compounds. Key words: Mentha piperita, Camellia sinensis, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Consumer acceptance, Total Antioxidant Activity.