Is Your Tea Tasting Bitter? Solutions for Bitter Tea

bitter tea

Tea isn’t flavourful all the time, especially if you prepare it the wrong way or use the wrong types of teas. If you have noticed your tea to be bitter for reasons you are unsure of, you are not alone. Explore the reasons and ways to fix it in this post.

Why Tea Gets Bitter At Times?

There are several reasons why tea can get bitter. But before uncovering them, let’s understand why milk tea and black tea can get bitter. Tea has specific compounds known as tannins that contribute to the distinct flavour. However, the same tannins can make the tea bitter if overstimulated. 

Now, let’s look at the common reasons for bitter tea: 

1. Brewing or Steeping Tea for Too Long

One of the most common reasons for tea to go bitter is steeping or brewing tea in milk or water for too long. Doing this overstimulates the group of tannin compounds in tea, increasing the level of bitterness. Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful of how long you want to brew or steep your tea when preparing it. 

But the brewing and steeping time also depends on the type of tea you want to prepare. For example, if you want to prepare black tea, steep it in water for 40 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure that you do not steep black tea till the water reaches its boiling point.

On the contrary, if you are planning to prepare kadak chai (strong milk tea), brew CTC tea directly in milk till the milk comes to a rolling boil. Further, you can boil the milk a couple of times to make the tea strong. Unlike steeping CTC tea in water, boiling it with milk doesn’t raise the risk of bitterness significantly as milk tends to absorb some level of bitterness of the tea. 

Don’t know what is CTC tea? Learn about it in this post:

2. Using Hard Water 

Another common reason for the bitter tea taste is using hard water. Hard water with a high pH level, such as 8 or 9, will not taste as smooth as normal water. And its already present pungent taste will further amplify the bitterness of the tannins. 

It is always best to use filtered water that does not have a high pH level. You can use a water filter that lowers or maintains the water’s pH level during the purification process.

3. Using PD Grade CTC Tea 

CTC tea of the PD grade has a powder form and therefore dissolves quickly in boiling water and milk. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the time it takes to boil PD grade CTC tea. 

Also, unlike whole-leaf teas, tannins in tea powders can easily get overexposed and overstimulated with hot water and milk. When using tea powders, it is best to boil them directly in milk so that the milk absorbs some of the bitterness of the stimulated tannins. 

Solutions for Bitter Tea

Can you do something about teas that have already gone better while preparing? Not entirely, but there are a few hacks that you can definitely try. Here are some of the fixes for teas that have already gone bitter: 

Mix More Water or Milk With the Tea

One of the easiest ways to reduce or fade away bitterness is to add more water or milk to the tea you have already prepared. We recommend adding the extra water or milk incrementally in a few amounts while testing the tea to ensure you do not over-add and ruin the tea’s flavour. 

Add a Dab of Sugar or Honey

If you want your tea to taste strong but do not want it to be bitter, then you can try adding a dab of sugar or honey as per your preference. Add sugar or horny in moderate amounts. If you do not prefer your tea to taste too sweet. 

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