OBJECTIVE:While most studies have shown an inverse relation between tea consumption and cardiovascular risk, other studies have shown opposite results. Aortic stiffness and wave reflections are markers of cardiovascular disease and prognosticators of cardiovascular risk. METHODS:The acute effect of black and green tea on aortic stiffness and wave reflections was assessed in 29 healthy volunteers in a randomized, single-blind, sham-procedure controlled, cross-over design. In the black tea sub-study, 16 subjects received 6 gm of tea, caffeine (175 mg), or hot water in 3 different sessions. In the green tea sub-study, 13 subjects received 6 gm of tea, caffeine (125 mg), or hot water. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and wave reflection indices were measured at baseline and for 3 hours after consumption. RESULTS:Black tea increased pulse wave velocity during the first 90 min (increase by 0.49 m/sec, P < 0.05), showing a rapid return towards baseline values thereafter (P = 0.07 for the whole study period); in contrast, green tea had no effect. Both black and green tea increased augmentation index (by 5.0% and by 6.6%, P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively) throughout the study. These changes were less than the respective changes produced by caffeine. Both black and green tea had a significant pressor effect. No change in oxidant status was found with both types of tea. CONCLUSIONS:Both black and green tea increases acutely wave reflections and only black tea increases aortic stiffness. Tea flavonoids may play a role in the attenuation of the effects of caffeine contained in tea.