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Why do my warm tea get bitter?

by Beatrice Garvey |

Cover the bitterness with milk, loads of milk and then a bit of honey as well, do you recognise it? I do. this was me just a few years ago (Note, I still drink my black tea with milk and honey). But in this post, I will focus on green tea mainly. 

I had such a problem with drinking green tea back in the day, it was bitter and yeah just to be frank horrible in my mind...

But now when I look back at how I use to feel about green teas I know that it wasn't the tea's fault (most of the time) but it was my fault. 

So how can you brew yummy healthy green tea? 

Problem 1 I think a lot of people (including myself back in the day) use too hot water when brewing green tea, we let the water boil up to 100c°and then we pour it into the delicate green tea leaves and expect it to taste delicious straight away. This is a big "NOO, don't do it!" The water actually needs to be between 70-80c°. This way the foreplay with the tea leaves and water starts. You see, the leaves go through stages in the steeping /brewing process and when its in with the boiling hot water it goes to stage 100 straight away where it releases the tannin in the leaves which give the bitter notes. 

So conclusion - Always brew your green & white tea in 70-80c° if nothing else states on the packaging.


Problem 2 Brewing it too long, you might pour your perfectly heated water on your delicate tea leaves stand there for 30 seconds and then you remember something you had to do and all the sudden you left your cup with the tea leaves and will remember it again about 15 minutes later. I think we all can figure out that the tea has had a far to greater time with the hot water for too long and have come to stage 100 again and starting to release the tannin into the water. The steeping/brewing time is different for each tea but most commonly it's between 2-3 minutes, but check your package to make sure.


Problem 3  Well let's just poor in the tea leaves in the pot, it should be as much as we use for our coffee... There are a lot of people out there that might not really get those measurements right after all, so make sure to add the right amount of tea leaves to water when steeping/brewing your tea. It is usually 1-2 tsp per 300ml water. 

However here you can tweak it if you like it slightly stronger but remember it's a balancing act. 


Lastly, make sure to use good quality tea leaves. Often (not always) the bagged tea is the crumbs of tea leaves broken in the manufactory. When the tea leaves become like powder as you would notice most of the tea bag tea is, the tannin will be quicker released and a lot of the good health benefits have gone missing. 

So think about this:

  • Brew your green and white tea in 70-80c° or cold brew
  • Let the tea brew between 2-3 minutes
  • Don't use too much tea
  • Buy good quality tea




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