Why Does Tea Make My Mouth Dry?

When enjoying a nice cup of tea, have you ever wondered "Why does tea make my mouth dry?" It's a common feeling, that dry, astringent sensation in the mouth when drinking tea. Let's find out why.

When enjoying a nice cup of tea, have you ever wondered "Why does tea make my mouth dry?"

It's a common feeling, that dry, astringent sensation in the mouth when drinking tea. This feeling can also occur when enjoying coffee, red wine, some fruits, and dark chocolate.

The Blame is on Tannins

This dry mouth sensation is caused by tannins, which are chemical compounds that naturally occur in some plants. Some tannins may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties along with the ability to regulate blood sugar, but more research is needed to understand the extent of it.

Tannins also have a downside, it's the tannins in tea that cause bitterness when tea is steeped for too long, which is why it's important to follow the steeping directions that come with your Plum Deluxe tea to get the right flavors.

Tannins may also be what causes some nausea when tea is drunk on an empty stomach and is best had with food if you find it upsets your belly. Tannins have also been blamed for making it harder for the body to digest iron, which can be lessened by neutralizing the tannins with milk or lemon or eating foods high in vitamin C with your tea.

Tannins and Tea

All tea contains tannins, as all tea (not including herbal) comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The only difference between black, green, white, and oolong tea is the way the tea leaf is processed. Because of this processing, black tea, such as our House Blend, has the most tannins while it is said that green, such as our Mango Apricot green tea, has the least.

Decaffeinated House Blend black tea spills out onto the marble surface. Accompanying the tea is a bunch of daffodils and a teaspoon.

Tea and Hydration

You may be wondering "Why does tea make my mouth dry?" out of concern for hydration. A dry mouth certainly makes you feel like you need a glass of water. Fear not, while the caffeine in tea acts as a diuretic, it does not dehydrate you. Water is certainly more hydrating than a glass of caffeinated tea, but tea will also help keep you hydrated.

The dry mouth you feel from drinking tea is just a result of the tannins combined with your saliva and not dehydration.

How to Lessen That Dry Feeling

You can lessen the dry feeling in your mouth by drinking green tea instead of black since it has fewer tannins. Or you could try a full-bodied herbal such as a rooibos blend like our Vanilla Sugar Cookie Herbal Dessert tea. You could also add milk to the tea to neutralize the tannins.

Another great way to cut down on that dry mouth feeling from tannins is to cold brew your tea. Cold brewing tea doesn’t release as many tannins as hot brewing, creating a smoother mouth feel. To cold brew, just add two teaspoons of tea per eight ounces of cold water and let steep overnight.

Overall, tannins are just a part of the tea-drinking experience, and the negative attributes can be minimized easily by neutralizing the effects with milk, lemon, foods rich in vitamin C, steeping for less time, or switching to green or herbal tea.


Mary Hadzimichalis

Mary is a creative kitchen and garden witch with a passion for tea. She lives on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with her husband and three cats. Her baking, creating, gardening, and women's healthcare advocacy can be followed on Instagram.
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