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Why My Tea Bitter & How To Get Rid Of It

Jul 05,2024 | TeaTsy Team

Bitterness in tea has become a common problem and can be caused by a number of factors such as the quality of the tea, control of the water temperature, brewing time and the proportion of tea leaves.

Happily, there are many ways to reduce or even eliminate the bitter taste of tea.

Of the various types of Chinese tea, green and black teas are the most likely to produce a bitter flavour. This is because green tea is unfermented and has a higher content of tea polyphenols and caffeine, while black tea is fermented for a longer period of time, and both of these can produce a bitter flavour if you are not careful when brewing.

Why my Tea Bitter 

Why Tea Taste Bitter 

Why tea tastes bitter has been a lifelong question and has been begging for an answer since time immemorial. We can give a simple answer, which is a chemical compound called "tannin," but in all honesty, that won't do justice to the main reason you get bitter. In that case, the following explains why tea tastes bitter. 

  • Tannin 

Tea tannin, of course. This acidic chemical compound falls under the same category as polyphenols, which are mostly found naturally in tea leaves. It's not like tannin is such a devilish compound that's unwanted in your tea leaves, but the thing is that an excessive constituent of tannin in tea leaves often leads to bitterness. It's worth noting that the amount of tannin constituent in Chinese tea varies depending on the type. Black tea contains more tannin than any other tea because it went through a series of extensive oxidizations. 

  • Steeping Time

Steeping time is the time the tea is spent inside the water. This is an essential factor in determining whether your tea tastes bitter. The more your tea leaves stay inside the water, the more they release more and more compounds, which can be a factor in having a bitter taste. 

It's highly desirable to let your tea spend ample time inside the water in the first steep for never-ending flavor development. However, the moment you let it take too long, it leads to an overload of tannin in your tea, which has been established to be a factor leading to a tad of bitterness. 

  • Tea Plant Species 

A series of research studies have investigated the influence of plant species on the bitterness of tea. The results are as you can imagine since most people in the Western world are more inclined to drink black tea from Assamica Assam varieties of Camellia Sinensis. 

This Assamica Assam variety differs from those primarily found in China (Camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis). It is said to have high levels of caffeine, which often cause bitterness and, in most cases, are broken during processing. 

  • Harvesting Period 

This might be a long shot for most tea drinkers to keep tanning off, but it is worth noting that tea leaves exposed to extensive amounts of sunshine will definitely become bitter when brewing. The reason for this has to be that the increasing focus of sunshine on tea plants will lead to a rising concentration of catechin, which is a key component of tea becoming bitter. However, it would be best to focus on purchasing tea harvested during the winter when there is less sunlight. 

  • Age of Tea Leaves 

This is another major factor that contributes to tea bitterness. The age and size of tea leaves have to do with the amount of bitter taste you get while brewing. The reason is that young tea leaves constitute high levels of catechin compound, which is a significant contributor to the bitter taste of tea.  To balance out the bitterness, young tea leaves have high concentrations of amino acid and natural sugar, which, if mixed, will balance out the bitter taste and give you the typical taste you expect from your tea. However, this can not be said for old tea leaves that contain lesser catechin and lesser amino acid, which in most cases turn bland and bitter when you brew them. 

How to Get Rid of Bitter Taste in Any Tea

Now that we have identified why tea tastes bitter let's look into how to remove bitterness from tea. We can see this as quite scientific and an art because the effective methods listed below are tested and trusted if you can abide by them. 

Always Use the Appropriate Water Temperature

Mastering the habit of using the proper water temperature per the type of tea you are brewing is an important feature that will save you from encountering a bitter taste. Remember, every tea has its own acceptable water temperature, so you should always aim for a cooler temperature of about 75 to 85 degrees C or, in most cases, research the proper water temperature for each variety of tea. 

Get Your Steeping Time Right

Most people ignore this important part of the tea brewing process. This is the case with many people preoccupied with other things and losing count of their tea's steeping time. Steeping time is essential because not all tea can withstand the pressure of an extensive steeping period. 

For instance, you should target 3-5 minutes of steeping time for black tea, while just 2 to 3 minutes is enough to get the optimal result from green tea. If you are trying to automate the process that allows the easy removal of tea leaves from the water after the steeping period, you can check through Teatsy to grab a unique tea infuser pot. 

Get Your Steeping Time Right(Teatsy Glaze Ceramic Teapot. With filter hole, easy to drink pure tea.)

Use the Proper Tea Leaves to Water Ratio 

Most people feel the increasing number of tea leaves used for tea will determine how rich and flavorful the tea will be. However, this is a great misconception that has been proven to be a significant cause of bitterness in tea. The general rule is to use one tea leaf per 6 ounces of water. This is an efficient way to subdue bitterness in tea. However, the ratio is flexible. Hence, you can increase that ratio based on how strong you want your tea to be. 

Always Go for Fresh Tea Leaves 

Just like it is for everything in the universe, fresh things are always said to be the best. This is the case with tea leaves; fresh ones are still vibrant, especially if you store them in an airtight, dark container devoid of moisture. It's not like old tea leaves are always bad, but to be on the safer side and not be worried about the bitterness of your tea, you should always use fresh tea leaves and stay clear of old leaves that tend to lose flavor and are prone to bitterness. 

Fresh Tea Leaves

(Teatsy Wood Tea Spoon. $9.99 USD.)

Add Sugar or Any other Sweet Solution 

This often looks like the last resort for many if they have tried all the above steps and still have a touch of bitterness in their tea. Adding sugar or any other sweetener like honey lemon juice to cancel out the touch of bitterness in your tea is also an easy step that you can take. You should only take a small amount of any of these because an extra amount of them in your tea can make it more sweetened and ruin the flavor profile. 

How to Make Tea Strong But Not Bitter 

There is no better feeling than having a cup full of strong, bold, and flavorful tea. Over the years, most people have been inundated by the fear of the little strain of bitterness that comes with making strong tea. No one can blame them when the most prominent methods that most people knew about making strong tea were excessive steeping period and stuffing of water with too many tea leaves. This has to stop, and it has made the center focus of this section to give you the full context on how to make a stronger tea without getting the problematic bitter taste. Let's get to it. 

  • Opt-in for Loose Leaf Tea 

One thing about Loose-leaf tea is that it always comes with a burst of flavor and has the benefit of being processed to expand and release all its innate flavor naturally. This simple logic is integral to having a stronger tea without bitterness since you aren't unnecessarily overstepping or stuffing tea leaves. 

  • The Tea Type is Important

By default, black tea produces a stronger brew than any other type. Your best bet for getting a stronger brew is experimenting with different black tea varieties, from Assam variants to other ones, until you get your savory, solid, yet smooth brew. 

  • Make use of a Good Infuser

It's undeniable that a good infuser is essential to your overall brewing experience and, most importantly, how strong your tea tastes. When you use an excellent infuser, especially the larger basket infuser with mesh, you allow your tea to unfurl naturally, allowing it to have contact and circulate with the water directly. You can go through the Teatsy catalog to get the best Chinese teaware with all the needed features for a strong brew without any dash of bitterness. 


In conclusion, it's awkward that most tea enthusiasts fall into the pit hole of encountering bitter tea that often ruins their tea experience. However, this is not a finality that should detract you from enjoying your favorite. You can transform your tea routine by understanding the science behind tea bitterness and following these simple brewing tips. So, the next time you crave a cup, remember: a little patience, proper water temperature, respect for the steeping time, and most importantly, selection of the appropriate teaset from Teatsy are the keys to unlocking a world of smooth, delicious tea flavors.