Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?


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Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby TokyoB » Oct 2nd, '09, 21:43

As we all know, when brewing Japanese sencha each steeping becomes progressively more bitter. Is this due to release of more catechins or more caffeine or both? I also find that sometimes sencha bothers my stomach a bit, but usually only if I have 3 or 4 steepings. I'm wondering whether it is bothered merely from having more tea or if there is something released in the 3rd and 4th steepings that is more aggravating to the stomach than what is found in the first two steepings.

Does anyone know the chemistry here?

Thanks!
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Chip » Oct 2nd, '09, 21:57

Hmmm, really, more bitter with each steep? How are you going about resteeping?

I would say if I am not careful, the second steep can be pretty intense to bitter. But beyond the second, the complexity of the sencha seems to diminish significantly along with any traces of bitterness.

By the 4th steep it is almost impossible for me to brew it bitter, and the 5th I can use boiling water resulting is usually just sweet teawater.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby iannon » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:05

i'm kinda with Chip on this one..
the second steep can get bitter if i brew too long. i am usually at 30 to 45 seconds on steep 2. then after that i hardly get anything bitter unless i forget about it or something
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby TokyoB » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:10

Chip,
That's interesting. I assumed that everyone thought each steeping was subsequently more bitter but I see that is not the case. I haven't compared notes with anyone though. I don't find the second steeping to be notably more bitter but I do find the 3rd and 4th steepings to be so. This is probably most true for asamushi. For some fukamushi's like a saemidori, I don't really notice this I guess.

For steeping parameters, generally about 1 min at 160F for the first steeping,for the 2nd a few seconds or a bit more for asamushi also at 160F, for the third and fourth steepings, I generally use slightly hotter water, 1 min. for 3rd steeping and 30 sec to 1 min or more for 4th.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Dreamer » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:15

Yeah, what Chip and iannon said...the 2nd steep of a Japanese green can be have lots of flavor (my fav), but after that it is just sweet green tea for me. Seems like there was a discussion recently here on the chat about some folks sense of taste being highly attuned to bitter flavor elements, maybe you're one of those folks.

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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Chip » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:18

Well, you seem to be on the right track brewing wise. Yeah, asa will exhibit more persistant potential for bitterness.

It could be a water issue, or personal taste bud issue, or even the tea.

Have you tried spring water? Filtered? I know when I go to my in law's who has really weird water, everything is off, so I usually bring water.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby TokyoB » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:18

Dreamer wrote:Yeah, what Chip and iannon said...the 2nd steep of a Japanese green can be have lots of flavor (my fav), but after that it is just sweet green tea for me. Seems like there was a discussion recently here on the chat about some folks sense of taste being highly attuned to bitter flavor elements, maybe you're one of those folks.

Dreamer

Yes I'm beginning to think so - I find almost all DC to be bitter and also find all matcha to be bitter. I'm surprised that some particular matchas have been described as sweet - I try them and just find them to be a bit less bitter. Oh well, when I find a sencha to be rather bitter I cold brew it.

I do agree with you that the second steep is often the most flavorful.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Chip » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:30

:D OABTBS!
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby TokyoB » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:32

Chip wrote::D OABTBS!

:?:
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Chip » Oct 2nd, '09, 22:34

Oh, haven't you heard of Overactive Bitter Tastebud Syndrome? 8)

OK, bad acronym joke ... retreats to the TeaCave ... :oops:
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Tead Off » Oct 2nd, '09, 23:58

TokyoB wrote:As we all know, when brewing Japanese sencha each steeping becomes progressively more bitter. Is this due to release of more catechins or more caffeine or both? I also find that sometimes sencha bothers my stomach a bit, but usually only if I have 3 or 4 steepings. I'm wondering whether it is bothered merely from having more tea or if there is something released in the 3rd and 4th steepings that is more aggravating to the stomach than what is found in the first two steepings.

Does anyone know the chemistry here?

Thanks!


TB, I found that if I don't take Sencha or Matcha on an empty stomach, then there is not this queasy feeling that it gave me on occassion. Green tea is known to irritate some stomachs. I was a bit surprised when it happened to me as I had been drinking Chinese teas for years and it never happened with them.

I think some Japanese greens are more astringent than others. I don't know if this is from the processing or breed. Bitter is usually from overbrewing. My 2nd brew is 30sec at same temp, 3rd 45s-1minute. I prefer the Fukamushis. Sweeter.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby AlexZorach » Oct 15th, '09, 21:12

Unless I up the temperature or greatly up the steeping time with each progressive steeping (both of which I sometimes do) I find it gets less bitter. I've found this true of all kinds of tea.

Perhaps you brewed the first one too hot?
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby TokyoB » Oct 15th, '09, 21:15

AlexZorach wrote:Unless I up the temperature or greatly up the steeping time with each progressive steeping (both of which I sometimes do) I find it gets less bitter. I've found this true of all kinds of tea.

Perhaps you brewed the first one too hot?


I don't know. I think I brew at the low end of typical temps - usually around 160F. I think I'm just one of those people who has a greater sensitivity to bitterness.
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby thirtysixbelow » Oct 16th, '09, 10:53

Tead Off wrote:TB, I found that if I don't take Sencha or Matcha on an empty stomach, then there is not this queasy feeling that it gave me on occassion. Green tea is known to irritate some stomachs. I was a bit surprised when it happened to me as I had been drinking Chinese teas for years and it never happened with them.

I think some Japanese greens are more astringent than others. I don't know if this is from the processing or breed. Bitter is usually from overbrewing. My 2nd brew is 30sec at same temp, 3rd 45s-1minute. I prefer the Fukamushis. Sweeter.


I have to eat something if I'm having sencha as my breakfast tea. If I drink sencha on an empty stomach I get kind of queasy. It doesn't take much, just a banana or few crackers, to fix the issue. It can't be the caffeine because black teas are ok with my stomach, so I don't know. Also, I definitely don't get any bitterness after the 2nd steep. If anything I get a ton of sweetness. Not sure what is going on with that :?:
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Re: Why does each steep get progressively more bitter?

Postby Chip » Oct 16th, '09, 14:23

Hmmm, very rarely with greens, now Assam does it every time to me, but I don't care for Assam anyway, so we have an arrangement, I won't drink it and it won't upset my tummy ... :lol: :idea:
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