If you could only drink one type of beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be? A lot of people would say tea.
Tea has antioxidants and other properties like antibacterial capabilities and anti-inflammatory benefits, depending on what specific ingredients are in it.
Although, tea also has tannins. Tannins have been shown to cause other health effects, such as accelerated blood clotting, decreasing serum lipid level, reducing blood pressure, producing liver necrosis, and modulating immune responses.
The amount and type of tannin are essential factors in these effects. Tannins have received mixed reviews; with some claiming they are good for you while others tell you to avoid them altogether.
So which viewpoint should you believe? In this article, we summarize the large existing literature on tannins in tea and the conflicting information therein so you can develop a more accurate understanding of the overall effect of tannins on your health.
Table of Contents
- What Are Tannins?
- Side Effects Of Tannins In Tea?
- Does Black Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Green Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Decaf Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Decaf Tea Affect Vitamin Absorption?
- Does Matcha Have Tannins
- Does Herbal Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Chamomile Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Ginger Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Rooibos Tea Have Tannins?
- Does Peppermint Tea Have Tannins?
- How to Neutralize Tannins in Tea
What Are Tannins?
Tannins (or tannic acids), also known as polyphenols or phenolic compounds, are plant-based chemicals that offer a bitter and astringent taste.
There are three main types of tannins :
Gallic acid tannins: These are the most common type of tannin and can be found in fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Green tea contains gallic acid tannins.
Condensed tannins: These are a more potent form of tannin and are often used in making dyes and leather. Wine and black tea contain condensed tannins.
Hydrolyzable tannins: These are the weakest form of tannin and are found in fruits, vegetables, and spices like cinnamon. Chamomile tea contains hydrolyzable tannins.
All teas, including herbal teas, contain some level of tannins. The amount of tannins present in tea varies depending on the type of tea, how it was processed, and how it was brewed.
For example, black tea generally has more tannins than green tea because it is fermented during processing, whereas green tea is not.
Side Effects Of Tannins In Tea?
The most frequent side effects of overdoing tannins include an upset stomach and nausea.
When drinking strong tea on an empty stomach, these unpleasant symptoms are most likely to show up. Though they can be unpleasant, tannins do not seem to harm your stomach or digestive system.
In fact, according to some research, the astringent properties of certain types of tannin might even support gut health.
Tannins can also have negative effects by reducing the absorption of some essential nutrients. For example, tannins have been shown to reduce the absorption of iron from food.
This is especially problematic for people who are already at risk of iron deficiency, such as pregnant women or those with anaemia.
Tannins can also inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Some people claim that tannic acid in tea causes headaches, but there is no concrete evidence to support this.
If you find that you experience headaches after drinking tea, experiment with cutting back or switching to another type of tea. It’s unlikely that tannins are the problem.
While there are some potential drawbacks to tannins, they also offer some health benefits.
Certain types of tannin have been shown to act as antioxidants in the body. They can scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, leading to inflammation.
Does Black Tea Have Tannins?
All types of tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The main difference between different types of tea is in how they are processed.
Black tea leaves are allowed to oxidize or turn brown before they are dried. This oxidation process gives black tea its characteristic flavour and colour.
Black tea has more tannins than other varieties of tea with tannin levels ranging from 12 to 15 per cent. Black tea also contains more caffeine than other types of tea.
But black tea isn’t the only type of tea that contains tannins. Other sources of tannins include:
- Apple juice
- Red wine
- Pomegranate juice
Read also: Does decaf coffee have tannins?
Does Green Tea Have Tannins?
Green tea leaves are not oxidized before they are dried, which is why they retain their green colour. Green tea has a more delicate flavour than black tea.
Like all types of tea, green tea contains tannins. However, green tea has fewer tannins than black tea with an average of 2.65 per cent of tannin level.
This is because the oxidation process that black tea undergoes causes tannins to become more concentrated.
Green tea also contains less caffeine than black tea.
Does Decaf Tea Have Tannins?
Decaf tea is regular tea that has had the majority of its caffeine removed. The process of decaffeination doesn’t seem to affect the tannin content of tea.
Decaf tea still contains tannins as well as other compounds that can stimulate the nervous system. Although, the decaffeination process may remove some of them.
The amount of tannin in decaf tea depends on the type of tea and the decaffeination method used.
Does Decaf Tea Affect Vitamin Absorption?
There is no evidence that decaf tea affects vitamin absorption. However, tannins can inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
If you are concerned about tannin intake, you may want to experiment with different brewing methods or brands of tea to find one that suits your needs.
Does Matcha Have Tannins
Matcha is a type of green tea with high tannin content. The astringency in matcha is due to the tannins. Matcha contains more caffeine than other types of tea, and it has a stronger flavour profile.
Depending on how it’s prepared, matcha might have more or less caffeine than coffee, however, it is generally less than coffee.
Does Herbal Tea Have Tannins?
Herbal tea usually does not have tannins because it is not made from Camellia sinensis leaves. Herbal tea is made from herbs, spices, and fruits.
Some herbal teas may contain tannins, but this would be due to the addition of other ingredients such as blackberry leaves or hibiscus flowers.
Does Chamomile Tea Have Tannins?
Chamomile tea has a low concentration of tannins. The tannin level in Chamomile tea is less than one per cent.
It’s a caffeine-free herbal beverage prepared from the dried flower heads of the camellia plant (Camellia spp.).
Chamomile tea has a sweet, floral flavour and is used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Does Ginger Tea Have Tannins?
Ginger tea does not have tannins. Ginger is a root, and the amount of tannins in it is too small to be perceptible when prepared as a tea.
Ginger tea has a spicy, earthy flavour and is used to treat nausea and vomiting.
Does Rooibos Tea Have Tannins?
Rooibos tea is caffeine-free and has no caffeine. It also contains no tannins, which can be harsh, unlike green and black tea.
Rooibos tea has a sweet flavour and is used to treat insomnia and anxiety. Rooibos tea, despite having little nutritional value, is high in antioxidants, which may be beneficial to health.
Does Peppermint Tea Have Tannins?
Although peppermint tea is often categorized with other teas, it contains very small levels of tannins and does not have the same properties as regular teas.
Peppermint tea has a fresh, minty flavour and is used to treat indigestion and headaches.
How to Neutralize Tannins in Tea
Tannins can be neutralized by adding milk or cream to tea. This is because the proteins in milk bind to the tannins, making them less astringent.
You can also add sugar or honey to the tea to help balance out the bitterness of tannins. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, like potatoes, oranges, and cantaloupe, right before or after you drink tea can also help to neutralize the tannins.
Tannins are present in all types of tea, but the amount varies significantly depending on how they’re produced and how long they’re steeped when prepared.
Although there are a few potential downsides to consuming tea, the health benefits provided by tannins largely outweigh these negatives.
It’s important to keep in mind that the number of tannins you consume daily will affect how your body processes them. If you’re worried about potential negative side effects, limit yourself to drinking one or two cups per day and stick with green and white tea only.
Which Tea Is Highest in Tannins?
According to various reports, black tea has the highest tannin concentration. In between white and oolong tea, the range is typically broad, but the amount differs significantly depending on how they’re produced.
What Tea Has the Least Amount of Tannins?
Herbal teas typically do not contain tannins or caffeine, although there are exceptions. Some common varieties of herbal tea include ginkgo Biloba, ginger, ginseng, jasmine, hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, peppermint, and echinacea.
Green and white tea usually have very low levels of tannins due to the oxidation process they undergo during production.
Oolong tea usually falls somewhere in the middle between black and green tea, typically hovering around 9 per cent.
What Teas Have No Tannins?
Rooibos tea is naturally devoid of tannins because it is not made from Camellia sinensis leaves. Herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger or peppermint also don’t contain tannins.
They have a somewhat mild flavour (and in some cases are helpful for the stomach) when compared to ordinary teas. Try a different one each day for a week or so and see how you react to it.
Can Drinking Tea Reduce Iron Absorption?
There is some evidence that suggests tannins in tea may reduce iron absorption. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
If you are concerned about iron absorption, you may want to eat foods rich in vitamin C or limit your tea intake to one or two cups per day.
Is Tea Good for You?
Yes, tea is good for you. It is rich in antioxidants and has been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
However, it is important to limit your intake of tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You should also avoid adding too much sugar or cream to your tea, as this can offset the health benefits.