I was asked this morning about the sweetness of tea. Was it natural and what produces some teas with a sweetness?
This enquiry triggered no definitive answer to pinpoint other than “yes”, some tea leaves do produce a slighter sweeter brew. My memory searched with insufficient results, well I’m not as young as I used t be, it was time to investigate.
Firstly, yes Camellia SInensis does tend to have greater bitter taste as opposed to a sweet taste but there are reasons for this. Some teas might produce a reaction because of our own palettes at any one time and, like tasting anything, there is a dependence on the contrast aftertaste to whatever has been consumed prior t the tea - that is the previous consumption might be more bitter or more sweet than that of the current sample.
Tasters may find that White Leaf and Oolong Teas are sweeter but then even some Black Leaf Teas can be naturally sweet such as First Flush Darjeelings. But why and what produces this sweetness?
Heading on to the more scientific aspects …
Camellia Sinensis, a natural product, is a mixture or compound of different chemicals, actually a mix of different compounds interacting uniquely for each brewed Cup of Tea. So what you’ll have in your tea are: Polyphenols; Amino Acids; Enzymes; Pigments; Carbohydrates; Methylxanthines; Minerals and Volatiles.
Here, I will leave you with an answer to the original quest in that it is the carbohydrates within Camellia Sinensis that provide the ‘sweetness’ attributed to some tea leaf brews.