Tannins in Tea
Tea is a complex beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Much of its flavor, taste and aroma is due to the various constituents that make up the beverage itself. One of these important compounds are tannins; their presence and concentrations will vary from tea to tea depending on the type, origin, and processing of the leaves.
What are Tannins?
Tannins are organic compounds found in various plants and are naturally bitter in taste. They are divided into hydrolyzable and condensed varieties, and are sometimes referred to as astringent. In tea, tannins give tea their slightly bitter and astringent taste, sometimes enhanced by the addition of milk and/or sugar. Tannins are also the compounds which give tea its dark color when steeped.
Benefits of Tannins
Tannins are full of antioxidants, meaning they can help reduce oxidative damage to the body’s cells. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in reducing the severity of certain chronic conditions such as arthritis. Finally, tannins have been shown to possess antimicrobial effects, making them useful for fighting off certain infections.
Types of Tannins
The two main types of tannins found in tea are Gallic and Tannic Acid. Gallic acid is more common and provides more of the flavor and color to the tea. It is also responsible for the bitterness of the beverage. Tannic acid, on the other hand, is more astringent and is responsible for the tea’s slightly spicy taste.
How to Lower Tannin Content
In some cases, the tannin content in tea can overpower its flavor, leading to a bitter or overly astringent taste. To reduce the tannin content, different methods can be used, such as using a shorter steep time, using cooler water, adding more water to the tea, or using more tea leaves.
Tannins are an important component of tea, giving it its flavor, color, and beneficial properties. They can also be the source of bitterness and astringency if not properly controlled, but this can easily be adjusted with proper techniques. Tannins are an essential part of the tea drinking experience, and understanding them will help you to make the most out of your tea.
Knowledge of tannins in tea will no doubt enhance your whole experience of enjoying a hot cup of tea!