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Negativitea – Overbrewing

Reader, there is nothing more satisfying as sticking on the kettle for a cuppa. After patiently waiting for your kettle to shake with excitement as the water bubbles and pour the steamy water over your leaves, the waiting game of brewing begins. Once completed, you take a sip and experience every tea lovers worst nightmare. The Overbrew.

This is such an infuriating experience, especially if you’re needing to be woken up by your caffeine fix and you’re still half asleep pouring the mucky, bitter water down the sink as you try again to make a better brew just to get that horrible taste out of your mouth.

So why does this happen and how can it be avoided?


Why does overbrewed tea taste so damn gross?!
Over brewed tea had a greater concentration of tannins. Tannins can be found in a variety of fresh foods including berries, legumes and is also found in wine. It is a defence component in plants to prevent them from being eaten.

Tannins make the plant undesireable to some animals, though tannins are not concentrated enough in tea to harm you if they are used in moderation, so don’t worry! These tannins bind the salivary proteins, leading to a rough and dry feeling in your mouth.


Is your water too hot?
The popular misconception that boiling water can be used on any kind of tea. In fact, each type of tea requires a different temperature to brew, this is because each variety is processed differently and has a different strength. Black tea is fully oxidised and more robust than the buds and dried delicate white tea. Brewing your tea at a warmer temperature can overwork the leaf and spoil the flavour.

Puerh tea should be brewed at 100 degrees
Black tea, Fruit & Herbal teas should be brewed at approximately 95 degrees
Green & White tea should be brewed between 74 and 85 degrees
Oolong tea should be brewed at around 85 degrees


Are you using too much tea?
It is recommended you use 1 teaspoon per cup of tea however with larger leaf teas, you might need a bit more. Having your infuser packed with tea can stop the tea moving around which can impact the brewing process.

I find that when brewing White tea putting less tea sometimes prevents overbrewing. With it being a delicate leaf, if you put more tea in your infuser , it is therefore making a stronger brew which takes away from the original intended light flavour and can leave it tasting gross.


Are you just simply waiting too long?
Each packet of tea you buy should come with a set of brewing instructions, however there seems to be a general consensus amongst the teas that the standard recommended brewing time is 3-5 minutes for all teas with exception of white tea which is recommended 2-3 minutes.

Brewing your tea longer than the advised time realises a greater proportion of tannins, leaving your tea undrinkable.


Can you overbrew Cold brew Tea?
Not really. You can brew cold brew tea for anything between 3 hours and overnight. However, you might get bitterness if you put too much tea in your cold brew equipment.


Hopefully this has troubleshooted some of your tea troubles and banish negativitea from your lives!

AJ x