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Bruce Richardson, Fresh Cup magazine columnist                         

The Serene Cup

Fresh Cup Magazine

Bruce Richardson, columnist





Tannic Acid in Tea? I Don't Think So

Some medical professionals and tea lovers continue to perpetuate the myth about tannic acid in tea. There is no tannic acid in tea.

Tannins and tannic acid are not the same.

Tannic acid is found, for example, in oak leaves and originally was extracted to perform the task of tanning leather.  Be assured, tea tannins will not tan leather!

In scientific terminology, the formula for tannic acid (Acidum tannicum) is C4  H10  O9.   The formula for tea tannins is C20  H20  O9.  As you can see, tea tannins have a longer carbon chain than tannic acid.


Here is an extract from an article written by Joy Edlund on Green Tea.

...The naturally occurring chemical compounds in tea called polyphenols are powerful antioxidants.  The primary polyphenols found in tea are called catechins, which account for 30 to 40% of dry tea weight.  Polyphenols act as bodyguards, preventing damage caused by free radicals (damaging forms of oxygen) by combining chemically with the free radicals.  Polyphenols give tea its characteristic astringent flavor.  In the past, these polyphenols have been mistakenly called tannins.  Polyphenols are chemically similar to tannins.

Scientific studies have shown very strong evidence that green tea (which contain high levels of polyphenols) may help lower blood pressure and therefore reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease.  Further, green tea consumption is also linked with the prevention of many types of organ cancer incuding: lung, colon, esophagus, mouth, stomach, small intestine, kidney, pancreas, and mammary glands.  Green tea may also prevent skin cancer, when used both topically and orally.  It has been linked with helping the liver to rid the body of toxins....etc.


In short, your dentist may prescribe a wet tea bag for a sore gum but it won't be tannic acid that brings you relief!



Bruce Richardson is the owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and the author of such books as The Great Tea Rooms of Britain and The New Tea Companion.  He is a regular columnist for Fresh Cup magazine.

This article and photographs are copyrighted materials. They may not be used in any form, electronically or in print, without the written consent of the publisher.



The New Tea Companion - 2008 edition

Bruce Richardson is co-author of The New Tea Companion



Other articles by Bruce Richardson:

A Tempest in the British Cup of Tea

Selling Tea in the Land of Cotton

White Tea - Infused With Healthy Appeal

High Tea or Afternoon Tea?

Making Good Tea

Seeing London with Tea on the Mind

Jane Pettigrew: London's First Lady of Tea

When You Don't Know Beans About Tea

Darjeeling: Tea by Any Other Name Would Not Be As Sweet



















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