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An Overview of Tannins in Tea

An Overview of Tannins in Tea
An Overview of Tannins in Tea

If you've ever steeped a cup of tea and noticed how it leaves a slightly bitter taste in your mouth, chances are it was due to the presence of tannins. But what exactly are tannins and why do they appear in tea? Let's take a look at what makes up tannins and how they affect the taste of our beloved cuppas.

What Are Tannins?

Tannins, also known as polyphenols, are naturally occurring compounds found in tea leaves, fruits, vegetables, nuts, wines, and even some grains. Their name comes from the Latin word “tanna” which means “oak bark” as tannin was first extracted from oak bark. They have the ability to bind proteins and starches in foods and beverages which can contribute to their bitter or astringent taste.

Tannins in Tea

Tea is one of the most common sources of tannin. The amount of tannin present varies depending on the type of tea. For example, black teas generally contain more tannin than green teas while white teas contain very little. The differences come from the way that each type of tea is processed; for instance black teas undergo a longer oxidation process during production which increases their levels of tannin. It's also worth noting that caffeine content is usually higher in teas with more tannin content.

When it comes to brewing your perfect cup of tea you'll want to be mindful about how much time you spend steeping it as this can affect its flavour profile quite dramatically. Over-steeping allows for more polyphenols to be released into your cup resulting in a more intense flavour whereas under-steeping will give you a lighter flavour but still with some bitterness due to the presence of low levels of tannin. So if you're looking for a smooth cup without any hint of bitterness then watch that timer closely!

Tannins play an important role when it comes to creating our favourite brews! Knowing about them helps us understand why certain types of teas may be more or less bitter than others depending on how long we steep them for. With this knowledge we can now make sure that every cuppa we make is just right for us - not too strong nor too weak! So grab yourself some tea leaves and get steeping.


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