What causes the tea to sour?

In this brief article, we will provide an answer to the question, “What causes the tea to sour?” We will further elaborate on the compounds that cause tea souring and the benefits of consuming bitter tea.

What causes the tea to sour?

The two components which cause the tea to sour are tannins and theophylline. These are naturally occurring polyphenols. When we keep the tea leaves for a longer time in tea, then these polyphenols are released in a high amount. Otherwise, the normal amount of these polyphenols doesn’t sour tea.   

What compound causes the tea to sour fast?

Sugar present in tea causes the tea to sour fast. In the absence of sugar, the rate of tea souring is slow. In some cases, only sugar can contribute to souring tea when leaves are not present in the cup of tea. It happens when sweet tea is left for a longer period. Due to chemical reactions taking place, tea becomes sour.

What are some ways to reduce the bitterness of tea?

By adding lemon or honey to tea: Adding any kind of sweetener can decrease the bitterness of the tea. These sweeteners include honey, lemon and agave. Lemon juice not only reduces bitterness but also provides antioxidants that help in cell repair and provide protection against several diseases.

By adding a little quantity of baking soda: Baking soda has the potential to neutralize the effects of tannins. Tannins cause tea souring. Baking soda is also beneficial for digestion and decreases heartburn and ingestion. It does so by counteracting excess stomach acid, just like an antacid. 

Pour hot tea over ice: This method is perfect if the consumer has no issue with iced tea. Ice cools down the brew and decreases the sour taste. In this method, ice is placed in a cup. Then sour tea is poured into this cup. There will be quick melting of ice and tea will become cool.

By using high-quality tea leaves: Tea leaves contribute to souring tea greatly. If high-quality leaves are used then there are fewer chances of tea souring. A lot of varieties of tea leaves are available all over the world. These are used according to the requirement.

By not over brewing the tea: If tea is over-brewed, it might lose its taste and quality. This is due to the release of tannins during brewing. These tannins cause the tea to become sour. No doubt, tannins have many benefits and make the tea tasty, but these are only good in moderate amounts.

What are the benefits of drinking bitter tea?

These are some benefits of drinking bitter tea.

Protects against cancer: Tea also plays a significant part in the prevention of cancer by reducing the development of cancerous cells in the body. In one study, it has been stated that drinking tea might reduce colorectal cancer risk in the body.

Presence of antioxidants: Numerous antioxidants are present in bitter tea. These antioxidants help us to fight against inflammation and decrease the damage caused by free radicals.

Protects from diabetes: Tea is good for people who are diabetic. Caffeine present in tea helps to regulate the level of insulin and glucose in our bodies.

Helps to improve focus: Caffeine blocks the activity of adenosine. Adenosine contributes to a relaxing mind, thus decreasing focus. Caffeine releases serotonin which contributes to enhancing our focus.

Helps in losing weight: Drinking tea might boost your metabolic rate which will improve the calorie-burning process. It will, in turn, help you to reduce body fat and lose weight faster. It has also been proved that coffee acts as an appetite suppressant, further contributing to weight loss. 

What are the downsides of bitter tea?

These are some of the downsides of bitter tea.

Enhances cholesterol level: The ingredients of bitter tea-like cafestol and kahweol causes an increase in the cholesterol level. So, people with cholesterol problems must avoid drinking bitter tea.

Can disrupt the digestive process: Tannins can disrupt digestive tissues which then can not carry out digestion properly. This can lead to many uncomfortable conditions like nausea and stomach cramps.

Can cause anemia: Normal absorption of iron in our body can get hindered due to the presence of certain components in bitter tea. Due to this, our body can become anemic.

Can cause stomach acidity: Numerous cases have been reported validating the fact that bitter tea enhances stomach acidity.

Harmful for pregnant women: If women consume bitter tea during pregnancy, the caffeine present in it reaches the fetus. Fetuses are highly sensitive to caffeine. Thus consumption of bitter tea can cause complications during pregnancy.

Other FAQs about Tea that you may be interested in.

What does black tea taste like?

Which has more caffeine: green or black tea?

Does camomile tea have caffeine?

Does powdered iced tea have caffeine?


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What causes the tea to sour?”. We have further elaborated on the compounds that cause tea souring and the benefits of consuming bitter tea.