【味を知ればもっと楽しい】お茶の成分別の味を紹介

[More fun if you know the taste] Introducing the taste of each ingredient of tea

Tea, such as green tea and black tea, contains some healthy ingredients.

Typical examples are catechin, caffeine, theanine (amino acid), and sugar (pectin). In fact, these ingredients bring out the unique astringency, bitterness, umami and sweetness of tea. In other words, the taste of tea changes depending on the amount and proportion of these ingredients.

Even if the tea leaves are the same, the amount contained in them varies depending on the cultivation method and tea making method, so green tea is produced with different tastes, flavors, and colors such as sencha, gyokuro, kabusecha, and bancha.

 

Often, the package of healthy tea has a slogan such as "○○ is □□ g".

If you know the taste of the ingredients, you can imagine the taste of tea from the package.

 

Here, we will introduce what kind of taste is felt by which ingredient.

 

Catechin

Catechin is a type of polyphenol and is sometimes called tannin. It is an ingredient that makes you feel the unique astringency and bitterness of tea.

The catechins contained in green tea are flavanols among polyphenols, and the main ones are epicatechin (free type), epigalocatecchin (free type), epicatechin galade (ester type), and epilocatechin galley. There are four types of catechins (ester type).

Free-type catechins have a bitter taste but less astringency, and ester-type catechins have a characteristic that they tend to feel bitterness and astringency.

The most abundant is epigallocatechin galley. It accounts for 50-60% of the catechins contained in tea.

Also, catechins increase in second tea rather than first picked at the beginning of the year. Tamaro and Kabusecha, which are grown in a covered cultivation so that they are not exposed to the sun, suppress the production, so if you like the astringency of tea, you can use tea leaves and sencha made after the second tea for the bitterness and astringency of tea. For those who want to refrain from the taste, it is recommended to choose the best tea, tamaro, or kabusecha.

Also, the more catechins you put in hot water, the easier it will dissolve.

 

caffeine

It is well known that caffeine has a wakefulness-wakening effect and a diuretic effect, but caffeine itself also has a taste. It is also contained in coffee and chocolate and is a source of bitterness.

The amount of caffeine contained in tea leaves is high in young shoots and low in mature shoots.

The tea with the highest caffeine content is jade green. Depending on the extraction method, it contains about 160 mg of caffeine per 100 ml.

Even coffee, which is known to be high in caffeine, contains about 60 mg per 100 ml, so gyokuro contains more than twice as much caffeine as coffee.

Overdose of caffeine can have a negative effect on the body. Pregnant women and children in particular need to be careful, so some people may be worried that gyokuro, which has a large amount of caffeine, should be avoided.

However, the effects of caffeine contained in gyokuro do not need to be so nervous. This is because it contains ingredients such as tannin and theanine in addition to caffeine. These ingredients work to suppress the action of caffeine.

Green tea with a low caffeine content is sencha, roasted green tea, bancha, brown rice tea, etc., and is about 10 to 20 mg per 100 ml.

The caffeine content also depends on how the tea is made. People who are concerned about caffeine can reduce it by devising a way to put it in, and conversely, if you want to make your head crispy or improve your concentration, you can increase the amount of caffeine.

The higher the temperature of the hot water when making tea, the thicker the caffeine. Since the amount of caffeine that dissolves at 80 degrees or higher increases, it is important to add hot water at 70 degrees or lower to prevent caffeine from dissolving.

When the amount of caffeine is reduced, the bitterness of caffeine can be suppressed.

You can also make tea that contains almost no caffeine by draining it with water.

Conversely, if you put it in hot water at a high temperature, you can make tea with a high caffeine content.

The amount of caffeine contained in the tea changes depending on the temperature of the hot water when making the tea, so you can enjoy various tastes even with the same tea leaves.

 

Theanine (amino acid)

Theanine is a type of amino acid and is a component that makes you feel sweetness, umami, and mellowness. Tea contains various amino acids such as glutamic acid and aspartic acid, but theanine accounts for more than half.

Theanine contained in tea leaves changes to catechin when exposed to sunlight. In that case, the sweetness and umami will decrease and the astringency and bitterness will become stronger.

Gyokuro and Kabusecha have the strongest sweetness among green teas because they are cultivated in a covered manner so that the tea trees are not exposed to sunlight. Since it is not exposed to the sun, it contains more theanine than sencha and bancha. It is also known that the content increases when grown with nitrogenous fertilizer.

In addition, theanine is abundant in the first tea, and it is reduced in the second and third teas. The younger the buds, the more they are contained.

The characteristic of theanine is that it dissolves even in cold water. If you use hot water, catechins and caffeine will dissolve and increase, so by using water, you can reduce the amount of catechins and caffeine that cause astringency and bitterness, and make the taste and sweetness. You can dissolve a lot of the original theanine.

Then you can make mellow, umami and sweet tea. Theanine also has a relaxing effect. That is why you can feel relieved and calm when you drink tea.

Tea contains caffeine, which has a wakefulness effect, so it is said that if you drink it before going to bed, it will be difficult to fall asleep. However, by draining water, the amount of caffeine can be suppressed and only theanine can be dissolved deeply.

By suppressing caffeine and drinking green tea containing plenty of theanine before going to bed, you can sleep soundly due to the effect of a good night's sleep, and it can be expected to be effective in relieving fatigue and stress.

Sugar (pectin)

Tea contains various sugars such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose, but since the content is low, the sugars contained in tea do not make you feel sweet.

Among the sugars contained in tea, pectin is said to affect the taste of tea. Pectin is a component that is abundant in the peel of fruits such as apples, lemons, and oranges.

Pectin itself has no taste, but it can suppress the astringency and bitterness that are characteristic of the taste of catechin and caffeine, so it can emphasize the sweetness. Therefore, if a large amount of pectin is contained, the astringency and bitterness of tea will be suppressed, and the sweetness and umami will be strongly felt.

Gyokuro, which has a particularly sweet taste among green teas, is a tea with a high pectin content.

Vitamin C

Green tea is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an ingredient that cannot be made by the human body and must be taken from food. It has various effects such as collagen production, cold prevention, and antioxidant activity.

Sencha contains a particularly large amount of vitamin C, which is about 2.5 times that of lemon.

Many people think of vitamin C as the sour taste and yellow color of lemon. But I don't feel that kind of acidity in tea.

In fact, the acidity of lemon is due to citric acid, not vitamin C. The actual vitamin C is almost tasteless and colorless.

If you want to take Vitamin C but don't like the acidity like lemon, please take Vitamin C with green tea.

However, Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and is fragile. To get vitamin C efficiently, it is recommended to make tea with water.

Vitamin C Surprisingly, green tea contains many vitamins and minerals needed to keep the body healthy. For example, sencha and matcha are high in vitamin E, and gyokuro and sencha are high in vitamin K.

Minerals are rich in potassium, which promotes the discharge of waste products, as well as iron and zinc.

And the amount of dietary fiber contained in sencha is almost the same as that of hijiki seaweed.

You can see that green tea is a very healthy drink.

saponin

Saponin is a component contained in the tea leaves of green tea at about 0.1%, and has a strong bitterness and harshness. Among green teas, it is abundant in sencha. It has antibacterial and antiviral effects.

 

finally

Once you know the taste of each ingredient, you can imagine the taste before you buy the product and it is efficient.

Also, when you receive tea for which you do not know the type or brand, you can analyze the ingredients from the taste.

Even for tea that you usually drink deliciously, you can spend your tea time more enjoyably than ever by focusing on the taste and imagining the ingredients.