Why does my tea get bitter?

Posted by Beatrice Garvey on

Why does my tea get bitter? 

Tea contains a lot of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. One of those antioxidants are tannins, a type of polyphenol which is one of the reasons why tea is so healthy.

However, if the tea leaves release a lot of tannins into your cup the flavour of your tea will end up very bitter.

Three reasons why your tea turns bitter

It is all about simple tea education, together we might be able to spread these facts so no one ever needs to drink bitter tea ever again.  

So how can we make delicious healthy tea without the bitterness? 

Avoid boiling water

Different types of tea need different types of water temperature when brewing due to how processed the tea leaves are. You can read more about Green, Black & White tea in our previous blog posts.

The leaves go through stages in the steeping process and if we for example brew the delicate green tea with boiling water the steeping process will go too fast and a big amount of tannin will get released very fast in a short period of time which will end up giving us a bitter green tea. 

Make sure to read which water temperature your tea needs before you brew.

Black te - 95-100°c
Green tea - 70 -80°c
White tea - 75 - 85°c

The best way is to have a little thermometer to make sure the water has the right temperature, but frankly, it's not often we walk around with a thermometer in our bag. A tip is to add 1-2 ice cubes or a 1/4- 1/3 of cold water to your mug filled with boiling water. This will break the boiling point and bring the water temperature down to a more suitable temperature for green and white tea. 

Don't let it brew too long 

You might be brewing your tea for too long. Perhaps you pour your perfectly heated water on your delicate tea leaves but forget about the time you let it brew for. 

The ultimate brewing time is different for each tea, but most commonly it's between:

Green/white tea -2-3 minutes 
Black tea - 3-5 minutes

Anything longer than that, and the tea leaves will release more tannins into the water than we prefer. Always check the package of your tea to see the ultimate brewing time for your tea.


Too much tea

Another mistake people make when brewing tea is measurements. They add too much tea to the amount of water they have, and even though they follow the correct brewing time, the tea is bitter after only a few moments.

The general recommendation is 1-2 tsp per 300ml water. This is, of course, a guide, not a rule. If you like stronger tea, add more leaves. 

Just remember, it is all about balancing the taste of your tea.


Bonus tip

Make sure to use good quality tea leaves.  Paper teabags are filled with tiny particles that have been manufactured to give a quick, strong colory brew, not a  quality cup of tea. When the tea leaves are like powder as most of the paper bagged tea are, the tannin will be released quicker, which will give you a bitter tea. 

So think about this:

  • Brew your green and white tea in 60-80c° or cold brew
  • Let the tea brew between 2-3 minutes
  • Don't use too much tea
  • Buy good quality tea

Cold brewing tea draws fewer tannins into the tea compared to warm brewing.  Fewer tannins result in a smoother, sweeter and more dynamic cup of tea.
Read how to cold brew tea here


Bitter Green tea We B Knowledge

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