How To Prevent A Bitter Tea Taste
Even the finest teas can taste bitter if not prepared in the right way. If you are experiencing a bitter taste in your tea, it probably means that you are releasing too many tannins when preparing your tea. Tannins are astringents; astringents are plant polyphenols compounds which tend to cling to proteins. In our mouths, tannins find protein in saliva, and cause our mouths turn rough and dry (that bitter taste). Imagine what happens in your mouth when you bite into the skin of a grape, or an unripe fruit.
Certain levels of tannins are acceptable in tea, and in fact desirable for a complex taste. In moderation they have health benefits such as; lowering blood pressure, stimulating the immune system, and they have anti-bacterial properties. Different types of tea have different levels of tannins. Black and oolong teas, for example, have higher tannin content than green or white teas have. However, it is easier to extract the tannins in a green or white tea, by not preparing them right.
You will notice that on our website we give general steeping times and temperatures to ensure that your tea tastes smooth and sweet. If you use these guidelines but are still not getting the taste you prefer, here are some things you can try.
1. Check The Type & Quality of Tea. – You will get more tannins released from low quality “tea dust” in a teabag, than you will from a high quality loose tea product. Loose tea stays fresh longer, and is usually a superior product than the teas that are pre-packaged in teabags. Loose Leaf Tea is best.
2. Verify Water Source. – Some people have high mineral content in their main water source, or even hints of purification chemicals like chlorine. Just keep in mind that if the water you are using does not taste good, chances are the tea you are preparing with it won’t either.
3. Over-Steeping. – Over-steeping means that you let your tea soak in the water for too long. Over-steeping releases more tannins, which cause a darker than usual tea liquid as well as a sharp, bitter flavor. Try reducing or increase steep times to find the flavor you like best.
4. Change The Amount Of Tea Used – This can be tricky, because the amounts used vary considerably depending on the type of tea you are using. Read our recommended amounts on our website, and make incremental increases or decreases until you find the taste that is right for you.
5. Adjust The Water Temperature – Again this depends a lot on the tea you are drinking. Some of our teas recommend boiling water, and some do not. Follow our recommendations and if you think your tea still tastes too bitter, lower the temperature a bit to see if it helps.
TIP – If the damage has already been done, try diluting the tea with more hot water or adding a little sweetener. Sweetener will mask the bitterness and can also bring out different flavors in the tea. Please note that our herbal infusion teas do not have tannins, and can be steeped as long as you like at any temperature.