Why Does My Tea Taste Bitter?

Bitter Tea?

You sit down to your favorite morning cuppa, holding it in your hands in great anticipation. You take a sip and…. yuk! Your tea is bitter!

Causes for Bitter Tea:

Steeped too long: Be sure to follow steeping instructions for your tea. If you leave your first infusion in too long, it can become very bitter.

Water too hot: Each tea needs a certain temperature water. In general, no teas should be prepared with water at a rolling boil. If water is too hot, it can burn the leaves and release unpleasant flavors. When in doubt, use 195°F water.

Too much tea used: It’s tempting to cram the pot full of tea leaves, but the general rule of 1 heaping teaspoon per cup of water holds up pretty well. That should get you a strong cup of tea.

Tea too old: If your tried a shorter steeping time and cooler water but it’s still bitter, then you may have old tea leaves, or improperly stored tea. Check out our storage guide to see if you are storing your tea properly.

Personal Taste: Certain teas, especially breakfast and Assam teas can have a natural astringency that may be unpleasant to some people.

Hard Water: If your water has a high pH, it can cause your tea and coffee to taste bitter. Try using spring water to see if there is a difference.

Contamination: If your infuser, teapot, or kettle are not properly cleaned and thoroughly rinsed, you may be tasting something other than tea.

The Fix

Before you dump that cup of tea, try adding hot water too it. Often, this can help. If that doesn’t work, try brewing another cup, following the recommendations above and using our steeping instructions.

Tea and the American Revolution

Tea and the American Revolution

When you steep a cup of tea, imagine as you sip that empires have risen and fallen because of that warm familiar brew. As rich as your favorite cup may taste, it’s history is much richer.

Consider the American Revolution. We were all taught about the Boston Tea Party in school. It was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, on December 16, 1773. The demonstrators objected to the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, claiming that it violated their rights to no taxation without representation, as it was a tax from British Parliament, in which they were not represented. The demonstrators, some disguised as American Indians, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. The British responded harshly and ultimately sparked the American Revolution.

American tea drinking habits at the time

When the modern American thinks of tea dumped in the harbor, they might think piles of bagged tea, perhaps English Breakfast. However, tea bags were 150 years in the future, all the tea was loose leaf. Also, at the time, all tea came from China. The familiar full-bodied teas from India and Sri Lanka weren’t cultivated until the 19th century.

So what tea was dumped in the harbor? Not the bagged tea you buy at the grocery store! This was the good stuff. Benjamin Woods Labaree’s The Boston Tea Party says the three tea ships contained 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas). However, this tea would not pass for modern tea drinkers. Due to excessive taxation, Great Britain had great piles of surplus tea, and had the tea in question in storage for over 3 years.

Tea was a very important commodity in both Europe and the colonies at the time. In particular, American colonists had a much more sophisticated tea palate than they do today. Surprisingly, over a third of tea exported from China was green tea, with spring picked Hyson among the favorites. In fact, Hyson green tea was a tea favorite of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Unfortunately, due to the events of the Boston Tea Party and the Tea Act, Americans lost a taste for tea, resulting in the dominance of coffee. Only within the past few decades has specialty tea reached the spotlight again, with more than quadruple growth rates.

To find out more about the history of tea, check out this excellent blog by Bruce Richardson, Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum: http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/tea-blog

Tea Gift Ideas: Valentine’s Day

Best Selling Valentine’s Day Teas

Sweetheart tea

Valentine’s Day 2015 is almost here! Treat the tea lover in your life with a special brew. Here are some of our best selling organic tea blends for Valentine’s Day:

  1. Organic Mexican Chocolate tea
  2. Organic Chocolate Tea
  3. Organic Coconut Creme Tea
  4. Organic Earl Grey Passion
  5. Organic Vanilla Tea
  6. Organic Red Raspberry Rooibos

Does your loved one have everything they need to brew loose leaf tea? Don’t forget paper tea filters or a permanent tea basket!

Tea Sweet Idea:

Nothing spells love like a homemade Valentine’s Day sweet. Check out this Flourless Chocolate Chai Cake Recipe for an exciting tea-themed companion to your loved one’s favorite cup of tea.