As any tea drinker is aware, most types of tea, from green to black to herbal, contain various amounts of a group of chemical compounds collectively referred to as "tannins." But what does this mean?

tannins in tea

Tannins are compounds found in virtually every plant on Earth (source). They play a role in the ripening of fruit: if you have ever bitten into an unripe apple or banana and experienced a bitter taste, it's tannins you are tasting (source). Likewise, if you have ever choked on an accidental swallow of unsweetened black tea, the tannins are to blame.

While for most people, the ingestion of tannins is harmless, some sensitive individuals may experience bowel irritation, kidney irritation, or liver damage upon consumption of extremely large amounts of tannins (source).

Additionally, even in moderate amounts, tannins do possess one negative side effect: they inhibit the absorption of iron found in vegetarian foods (source). This means that anemic individuals and vegetarians may want to stick to drinking herbal and Rooibos teas with meals, while enjoying black, green, Oolong and Pu-erh teas a few hours before and after meals. 

For the vast majority of mankind, however, tannins stand to do quite a bit of good: in scientific studies, they have been found to possess antiviral properties (source). And, much more importantly, as any tea lover knows, they add a wonderful dimension to the flavor of tea.

Written by Sable Weisman
Please login to comment

Comments (1)

  • Will Nov 02, 2011
    Great article!

Tea Bar Chatter

Captcha text
Latest Message: 5 months, 2 weeks ago
  • Will 8:33 pm:
    It's probably going to be another 6-8 weeks before we have our Vanilla Cream Earl Grey ready to go - it's harvest season!
  • cmcocumen 9:38 pm:
    Hi @rhughes1565, sorry to hear about Brutus having anxiety issues. :( Let us know how Machu's Blend helped!
  • anonymous 12:10 pm:
    is the vanilla earl grey going to be available again.?
  • rhughes1565 6:18 am:
    Just ordered the Machu's Blend for my Pitbull Brutus... he has some anxiety issues, so I hope this will help.
  • Will 12:33 pm:
    Hi Rachel - your tea went out this morning! You should have receive a confirmation email late yesterday.
  • cmcocumen 7:50 am:
    Hello, Racheexo13! Thanks for your oder! I'll follow it up with Will. :)
  • Racheexo13 11:20 am:
    Hi! I ordered my tea three days ago but it still hasn't shipped out..I understand because it was the weekend but about when will it ship out ? :)
  • cmcocumen 12:38 am:
    Hi @robbyqa!
  • robbyqa 11:11 am:
  • Will 11:13 pm:
    Please check your spam folder. I've written you several times. The link to your gift card is in the email.

Your Cart

Your Cart is currently empty.


Receive Discounts & Specials

Tea House Specials

2008 © California Tea House. All Rights Reserved
California Tea House is upfront