Tannin in Tea: What is it? Is it Good or Bad?

tannin in tea: what is it? is it good or bad?
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What is tannin in tea? Does it contribute to your health in any manner? What are the possible side effects? Can you remove tannin from your tea? So, you want to know more about tannin. You want to know it is safe to consume tannin or not, right? 

If you drink tea regularly, you might be familiar with caffeine. Many of us know about the caffeine, a component available in almost all types of tea. Caffeine offers both health benefits and side effects. So, we take the utmost care to ensure that we are not consuming more caffeine. However, we avoid tannin since we do not know much about this.

Tannin is a less discussed subject especially when it is related to tea. Tannins are polyphenols. This compound is known for its astringent properties. Also, it is behind the color and flavor of your tea. When there are higher levels of tannins, you experience a bitter taste. There are different types of tannins and the most common type that is found in the tea is thearubigins.

What are Tannins in Tea?

As stated earlier, tannins are polyphenols. This compound is present in almost all types of teas. Yes, the quantity will vary depending on the type. In fact, you can have an idea by looking at the appearance of the tea itself. 

Unlike caffeine, tannins are calming. It will not make you active and alert. However, it contributes to the taste and color. In addition, it offers a number of health benefits. 

When the caffeine acts as a stimulant, tannins balance it with the calming effect. When you add boiled water in tea leaves, it takes around two minutes to draw out the caffeine. After five minutes, tannins will come out from the tea leaves and will minimize the effects of the caffeine. As a result, you can enjoy a calming and relaxing tea. 

In fact, you can totally avoid the effect of caffeine while preparing your tea. You can simply remove the water after two minutes of steeping and then use hot water again for re-steeping. There will be a minimal effect of the caffeine. 

What are the different Tannin levels for different Types of Tea?

All the tea types are different. They are prepared differently and the taste is also unique and different. So, their contents vary significantly. When some teas have a large quantity of tannins and caffeine, others contain very less. So, here the question is how to know the quantity available in your tea. It is simple. 

Now you know that tannin contributes to the color of the tea. If the color is deep and dark, then there is a possibility that it has a higher level of the tannins. 

Also, the steeping time will decide the level of tannins. Tannins start to get released after five minutes of steeping. When the steeping time will be more, you can expect a higher level of tannins. If it is only three to five minutes, then the level will be considerably less. 

Black tea is dark in color and if you are thinking that it has a higher level of tannins, then you are right. The color itself says a lot about the contents. Similarly, you will find fewer tannins in the white and oolong teas. The reason is that the tannins get released from the tea leaves when the organic matter breaks down. When the tea leaves are more oxidized, you can expect a deep color and a higher level of the tannins.

The black tea has more tannin since black tea leaves are more oxidized. So, they contain more tannin in comparison to other types of tea leaves. White tea leaves contain catechins. This compound breaks down to tannins when the leaf oxidizes. 

When the tea has a high quantity of tannins, it is called tannic. The best example of this type of tea is black and green tea. Tannins offer a bitter taste due to its astringent properties. But at the same time, it offers a fuller state. You can also expect a number of benefits as well. 

In addition, the time of the processing decides the level of tannins present in your tea. If you are using unprocessed tea leaves, then the level will be high. Processed tea leaves have a lesser quantity of the tannins. 

Are you still confused? Do you want to know which tea has a higher level of tannins? If yes, you can go through the followings. In the subsequent paragraphs, you will learn about different types of teas and available tannins in them.

Green Tea

Green tea tops the list. Green tea is popular for its number of health benefits. People all over the world drink green tea on a daily basis to get a healthy and fit body. In addition, green tea can minimize the risk of cancer.

Green tea is best to boost your heart health. Regular drinking can lower your cholesterol level. But it contains more tannins than any other type of tea. Green tea has the highest level of polyphenol. So, next time, think twice before drinking green tea. It is worth mentioning that tannins have also many health benefits like green tea. You just need to take care of the portion to prevent any possible side effect.

Black Tea

The next is black tea. Like green tea, you will find a higher level of tannins in black tea. You can simply understand it from the color and taste. You can blame higher oxidation and heavy processing. The impact will be more if you steep your tea for a long time.

You can reduce the steeping time to reduce tannins level. Also, you can limit the consumption only one to two times a day to be on the safer side.

White Tea

You will also find tannins in white tea. But the level will be less than green and black tea. If you want tannin-free tea, then you can try white tea. There will be no risk of tannins consumption.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea contains more tannins than white tea but lesser than green and black tea. This is a bit darker than white tea. Oolong tea is lightly fermented and it is not oxidized as well. 

Now you know the tannins level in different types of teas. If you like a bitter and strong taste and want the effect of the tannin, you can go with green and black tea. Oolong and white tea will be the best choice for all those who want lighter and refreshing tea without any bitterness.

How much Tannin does Tea Contain?

From the above, you might have an idea of the level of tannins in your tea. As stated above, follow a simple principle. You can look at the color and feel the taste. Both these will help you to know the level of tannins. For better clarity, you can consider the following.

  • Green tea has the highest level of tannins.
  • Black tea leaves are highly oxidized and it has more tannin as well
  • Oolong tea has less amount of tannin and you can easily understand it from its color
  • White tea has a minimal amount of the tannins

The steeping and processing time can have a direct impact regardless of the type of tea you are using. You will have to take all these things into account if you want to minimize the consumption. Also, teas with more tannin are less expensive and easily accessible. You can take the example of green and black tea. Non-tannins teas are expensive and are not easily accessible as well.

Health Benefits

Tannins have a great impact on the human body. You can expect both the benefits and side effects. However, the benefits are directly linked to the portion. If you take in moderation, you can get a lot of health benefits. Some notable health benefits are lowered blood pressure, balanced blood sugar, and strong immunity. More details are given below.

1. May Prevent Cancer

This is one of the key benefits and gives you a reason to drink tannins-rich tea once in a day. Just imagine, if you take in moderation, it can minimize the risk of dreaded cancer disease. The anti-oxidizing nature of tannins prevents the growth of cancerous cells. Also, it neutralizes some other elements in your body that cause cancer (1).

2. May Improve Cardiac Health

Tannins contain procyanidins and flavonoids. Both these are considered best for your heart health. Procyanidins will boost blood flow and functioning of blood vessels. All these will ensure your heart health and prevent heart diseases. Flavonoids will help in blood circulation (2).

3. May Reduce the Risk of Genetic Mutation

Processed food, fertilizers, and pesticides have made genetic mutation prevalent in many parts of the world. You can minimize the risk by having tannins. Credit goes to its anti-mutagenic nature (3).

4. May Balance Cholesterol

Polyphenols compound in Tannins will lower your overall cholesterol level. They achieve this by increasing the good high-density lipid and lowering the bad high-density lipid cholesterol (4).

5. Maintain Oral Health

Tannin has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help to fight cavities. It improves your overall oral health. If you take it with milk, it can be effective to prevent teeth staining (5).

6. May Strengthen Immunity

Anti-bacterial properties of tannin remove the microbes from the body and fight the effects of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. All these will help to strengthen your immunity (6).

7. Cure Inflammation

Tannin has anti-inflammation properties and that can help to cure pain (7). You can apply tannin tea bags on the affected area to get instant relief from pain.

8. Protect from Iron Overdose

Genetic mutation can cause an iron overdose. Like iron deficiency, iron overdose can cause many health complications. However, you can avoid this possibility by drinking tannin-rich tea (8).

9. Improve Digestion

Digestive disorders are common now. You can take tannins to improve your digestion. Its anti-oxidizing nature will improve your metabolism and prevent diarrhea. In brief, tannins make your digestion smooth (9).

10. Heal Blood Clotting

Tannins heal blood clotting fast and that will prevent an infection. An open wound is prone to infection and tannins will speed up the healing and cure it fast preventing such possibility (10).

Side Effects

There is no doubt that tannins help the body in many different ways. However, these are not free from side effects. Tannins can obstruct iron absorption causing a lot of health complications. More consumption can cause jaw pain. Some possible side effects of tannins are mentioned below.

  • Tannins are known for binding with starch. It is an essential component that facilities the production of serotonin. If you are sensitive to serotonin, then excessive consumption of tannins might cause migraine (11).
  • Tannin can cause iron deficiency. As stated above, tannin obstructs iron absorption. So, if you consume a higher amount of tannin, then you can suffer from iron deficiency after a period of time. Iron deficiency can cause a lot of health complications. Here again, minimize the consumption and take in moderation to avoid this risk.
  • Tannin can interact with vitamins and nutrients and prevent the absorption as well. So, it is suggested to drink high-tannin tea one hour after the meal.

How to Avoid Tannin in Tea?

The best way to prevent excessive consumption of tannins is to switch to white or Oolong tea. Both these tea types have a minimal amount of tannins. But if you like tannin-rich tea, then you will have to take extra caution to remove tannin from your tea. 

While boiling water for tea, you can add a half tsp of the gelatin powder. When you add tea leaves in hot water, the tea color will be lighter even after steeping for a long time. The taste will be less bitter as well. A little amount of the gelatin power can safely remove tannin from your tea.

If you are preparing ice tea, then tannin can make it cloudy. You can remove tannin by adding a quarter tsp of baking soda. Add it in the hot tea to remove tannin significantly. Also, you can reduce steeping time four to five minutes to remove tannin from your tea.


(1) https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/tannin

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294846/

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17238069

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1522762

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491343/

(6) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/003194229183426L

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2414605

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998341/

(9) https://www.jstor.org/stable/30164313?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

(10) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408699891274273

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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