What Are Tea Tannins?
For many, tea is a beloved beverage, offering a world of wonderful flavours, aromas and health benefits. But while the various types of tea available and the benefits they offer may be well-known, when it comes to where tea gets its unique taste and texture, it’s something not many people think about. Well, when we talk of the rich and robust tastes of your cuppa, that's when tea tannins enter the conversation.
If you’re wondering, what tannins in tea are or even ‘Does tea contain tannins?’, don’t worry. We’re breaking down this special plant compound so that the next time you take a soothing sip, you know exactly what’s in it!
Understanding Tannins in Tea
When it comes to tannins in tea, think of them as the secret behind the flavours and textures of your favourite brew. But what are Tannins in Tea exactly? Well, tannins are a group of organic compounds that occur naturally in tea leaves and other plant-based foods and beverages like wine, chocolate and coffee. Chemically speaking, they are a type of polyphenol, a group of antioxidants that are abundant in tea leaves. They give tea its astringency - the signature bitter taste that leaves you with the drying sensation you feel in your mouth after taking a sip. But they contribute to tea's rich flavour and aroma too, making them an essential component of what makes the tea-drinking experience so special.
In terms of how they work when you steep tea leaves in hot water, tannins are released from the leaves, creating the characteristic taste and texture we all know and love. The longer the steeping time, the more tannins are extracted from the leaves, which can result in a more bitter or astringent taste.
There are two main types of tannins found in tea: theaflavins and catechins.
Theaflavins are a type of tannin that is formed during the oxidation process of tea leaves. They are responsible for the reddish-brown colour and strong flavour of black tea. Theaflavins are also found in small amounts in some oolong teas.
Catechins are a type of tannin that is found in green tea and are responsible for its astringency and bitterness. Catechins are also known for their potential health benefits as they are powerful antioxidants.
The antioxidant properties of the catechins are what allow the benefits of tea tannins to go beyond taste and aroma.
The Health Benefits of Tea Tannins
Tannins are thought to offer a variety of health benefits. Catechins, in particular, have been studied extensively for their potential health benefits. These include:
Antioxidant activity: Tannins, particularly catechins, are powerful antioxidants that may help protect the body from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. This may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Tannins may also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.
Cardiovascular health: Some research has suggested that tannins in tea may have a protective effect on cardiovascular health, as they may help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood flow .
With so many potential health benefits of tea tannins, you have even more reasons to make sure you indulge in a soothing cuppa every day. But, as with any food or beverage, moderation is key when it comes to tea tannins. Drinking too much tea can lead to an excess of tannins, which can cause digestive issues like interfering with the absorption of certain nutrients like iron.
With how essential tea tannins are to ensure an enjoyable tea-drinking experience, you may be wondering how you can still enjoy your daily brew without overdoing the tea tannins. With Joko, it’s possible to enjoy a daily cuppa with flavours you love. All you need to do is experiment with different brewing methods and steeping times - as these affect the tannin levels in your tea - and find the perfect balance of flavour and astringency for you.
Tea tannins are an essential part of the tea-drinking experience, providing a range of flavours, colours, aromas and health benefits. So the next time you have a cup of Joko, now you know it’s the tea tannins that are responsible for the bold, rich, delicious brew that gives you a boost of strength when you need it the most. So tuck into your cuppa Joko today!