Camellia Sinensis contains substances that can produce bitterness in the brewed cup. If your tea is coming out bitter, it is usually due to any of three different reasons. 1) The water is too hot; 2) The tea has been steeped too long; or, 3) You are using too much tea.
The general rule when it comes to loose leaf tea is 1 teaspoon for every 8oz of water. That being said, teaspoons are a rather inexact unit of measure. Every tea is a bit different because they come in a variety of shapes.
So, how do you prevent your tea from tasting bitter?
1. Lower your water temperature.
It often surprises people when I tell them that certain types of tea require different water temperatures. This is especially important when it comes to green tea. The lower your water temperature, the less bitterness there will be. Hot water extracts other important components so don’t go too far but experiment with bringing it down a notch. Cold brewing will reduce the astringency even further.
2. Keep your tea whole.
If your finish up with the remnants at the bottom of a tin, we recommend you decrease the steep time accordingly.
Loose Leaf Tea works because they get crushed or broken into small particles and have an increased surface area that comes into contact with the water. This extracts color and flavor very quickly.
3. Reduce your steep time.
Some teas are only meant to be infused for a few seconds to a few minutes before pouring all the water off. If you leave the tea leaves sitting in the water too long, they continue to release tannins, the brew may become very dark, and the drink becomes bitter. To avoid this, take the tea bag out, or with loose leaf, use an infuser or multiple cups where the water can be poured off for drinking.
4. Buy better tea!
Last but not least, it’s very possible that the tea you are trying to salvage just isn’t very good. There is nothing that will fix old, cheap or low quality tea leaves. I promised that I’m not saying that to be a tea snob. Drink what you like. But if you don’t like what you are drinking, it’s a great motivation to upgrade your selections.