Why is my tea bitter? February 17, 2016 – Posted in: All About Tea – Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

For those of you who are disappointed by bitter cups of tea, this article might help prevent further encounters with bitterness.

Though bitter is subjective depending on the sensitivity of our taste buds, there are some levels of bitterness we can all agree on. I happen to be very sensitive to bitter flavours and it’s a horrible experience tasting a bitter brew that isn’t meant to be that way.  The main cause of bitterness is the tannins that are released from the tea leaves.

Using water that is too hot can burn the teas, especially for white and green teas hence making them bitter. Using water that isn’t hot enough won’t release the true flavours and antioxidants from the tea leaves. Besides brewing tea with water that is the right temperature, the duration of brewing plays an important role too.

Infusing tea for a duration longer that recommended, will release more tannins from the leaves. This is not the case with herbal teas. With herbal teas or tisanes, the flavour is simply bolder. For those seeking a caffeine boost, or theine in the context of tea, it is good to note that the caffeine content of tea is released in the first 1 to2 minutes, or less if the leaves are broken and not whole.  Increasing the quantity of leaves in your brew will strengthen the caffeine content. Leaving the leaves to steep for longer will not have significant changes to the caffeine level, but will greatly affect the flavour of the brew.