"Bitterness and astringency", it is the nature of tea after all, or the failure of brewing?

"Bitterness and astringency", it is the nature of tea after all, or the failure of brewing?

When it comes to tea with sweet and mellow style, such taste can cater to human's natural preference for sweetness and this tea is always easy to get consistent approval or praise, "so sweet, good taste".

But when our taste bud feel the bitter and astringent taste in tea, someone can't help frowning and doubt, "well? Is the tea bad? Or is it a fail brewing?"

Such "bitterness", which does not bring immediate pleasure, can easily be attributed to the defect or imperfection of tea, especially in the case of limited cognition.

Why there is bitterness in tea?
First, look at the composition of the tea itself. In the composition of tea leaves, alkaloids (mainly caffeine) are the main substances that affect the bitter taste of tea.

The components that make tea soup astringent are mainly tea polyphenols (also known as "tea tannins"). The astringency is caused by the interaction between tannins and other polyphenols and proteins in the mouth.


It can be seen that the bitter and astringent taste in tea comes from its composition, which is objective.

This is also the words tea lovers always mention that "no bitterness no astringency no tea". Such astringent sense of bitterness, also caters to experienced tea guests’ favour, if bitterness can be returned by sweetness, astringency can dissolve later, so the aftertaste that tea soup brings is far more than simple and pure sweet.

However, it is also important to know that, although the bitter taste of tea is inevitable, its degree can be different. It's not just the tea itself matter, the tea makers also matter.

As for tea itself, it is mainly reflected in the variety/season/growing environment, etc..


The bitterness of some tea varieties is obvious, and is usually prominent in some wild/undomesticated tea trees, such as Yunnan Bulang, which is divided into kinds of bitter, sweet, and bitter&sweet.

The content of polyphenols that dominated the bitter taste was as follows: the content of purple bud was higher than that of yellow bud and green bud.

For example, TEA AROMA RECORDS previously launched a purple bud raw pu’er, the tea soup performance is sweet and mellow and with a little bit slightly astringent.

Another example is Wuyi Rougui rock tea, which has a slight sense of bitterness when ingested. The reason is that the content of Rougui is relatively rich, with higher content of polyphenols and caffeine than others.

Growing environment of tea tree:

Such as soil, light, water, altitude and other factors, will affect the content of tea and the proportion of different degrees.

Generally, tea polyphenols content of high-altitude tea is lower than that of low-altitude tea. Tea plants on the dark side have a higher caffeine content than those on the sunny side. Therefore, high mountain tea performance is exquisite soup with good sweetness.

Tea growing season: generally specking, spring tea has a lower degree of bitterness, while summer and autumn tea has a higher degree of bitterness, because the content of caffeine and tea polyphenols decreases with the aging of buds and leaves.

In addition, human subjective factors affect the bitter degree of tea soup -- mainly reflected in the production process and brewing process.

In the process of making tea, tea master’s mastery degree of the raw tea, to some extent, determines the quality of a tea.

No matter when the tea leaves are picked, or when the tea leaves are shaken, fried or rolled, they all will affect the degree of bitterness of the tea leaves.

In Wu yi rock tea, if baked well, the bitterness can be reduced or even eliminated. When the tea fire hasn’t faded out, there will be some hint of fire bitterness and astringency.

In addition, to take a certain method in the brewing process, different tea different way, also can avoid or reduce the degree of precipitation of tea’s bitterness.

For example, to brew green/black/white tea with lower temperature boiled water, or controlling the amount of dry tea leaves and brewing time can avoid bitterness.

When we drink bitter tea soup, do not frown in a rush, might as well feel it carefully to see whether the bitterness can dissolve in time or not, then combine the condition presented by taste, aroma, soup color and leaf bottom to make judgment comprehensively.


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