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Toppers said

The delicate nature of a lovely Darjeeling first flush.

I drink a tea called Toppers Teas Darjeeling First Flush Risheehat Estate Clonal floral ( Toppers Teas is my company and this is not an advert just a genuine conversation, just thought I would disclose that before any upset is caused) ….anyway…. this is probably my favorite tea , I drink Keemun Mao feng most often but the Darj first Flush is a special treat for me. I just find it so delicious, however if I leave it to steep for too long it does go a bit bitter. However if I then use the same leaves to brew a new cup altogether I get a refreshing flavour once more. I have my degree in history and economics, are there any chemists or bio people out there who know why this is and how it can be encouraged or discouraged. Basically the tea goes bitter when left in to brew to long, but if new water is added its almost like new, so I guess the leaves arnt affected but just the water and the tea in that water? I dont know? I dont expect a response to this, but if anyone does know the answer id be there best friend forever, or at least a week or so.

3 Replies

the only thing i can think of is because of the concentration of Tea molecules is at a point where it is too high or too saturated causing it to become bitter.

with the shorter time the tea is unsaturated making it a non-bitter solution. leaving it in the water causes it to become saturated thus making it bitter. it can only become supersaturated if when the tea is cooled and you disrupt the solution the tea molecules separate from the water which i dont think is possible lol

it could also have something to do with PH a high PH makes solutions bitter and a low PH makes solutions sour so the closer the PH comes to 7 (neural PH) the better it tastes. i havent looked up alot but from what i can tell an average black tea has a PH of 6.5 (lower the # the more sour it is {acidic} the higher the # it becomes more bitter {basic})

so unsaturated solution = delicious tea (about 6.5 PH)
saturated solution = bitter tea (>8 PH)

sorry for all the useless information i just finished my chem class (got an A-) so i have all this info still locked away in my brain…i havent had time to dump it yet lolz :) it probably has more to do with PH than solution saturation

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fcmonroe said

It’s not pH. The bitterness is due to compounds called tannins. Even overbrewed tea is probably acidic. (I say probably because I haven’t tested it.) The tannins are large molecules and take a long time to seep out of the tea leaves. But in small amounts, I imagine they add a lot to the flavor.

So I think that it’s bitter when overbrewed because of excess tannins. The second brew is good because it doesn’t have excess tannins.

I’m guessing here. I have some books on chemistry and food, I’ll try to look through some of those. Are there any food chemists on Steepster? We sure could use one!

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oo so it is more of a saturation thing then? cuz i added the PH thing to it later in an edit because i wasnt too sure if that could have had anything to do with it

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