Sunday, August 30, 2009

Danke schoen, bitter

Celestial Seasonings is trumpeting a new line of green teas that "cracks the bitterness code." In order to "eliminate the bitterness sometimes associated with green tea," they've cut it with white young white leaves to make it smoother, with fewer tannins. Says the press release, "These new recipes will delight current green tea users, and will also allow those who have been turned off by green tea's sometimes bitter flavor to enjoy the health benefits and great taste of our new formulas."

To which I say: what the hell's so wrong with bitter?

I wonder sometimes if one of the reasons more Americans begin turning to tea is because of the overall lack of bitter tastes in our diet. We do have five taste senses, after all — bitter, sweet, sour, salt and the elusive umami. American cooking certainly loves the sweet and salty. Why do we shy so much from bitter? How a cocktail comes alive with the balance of a dash of bitters. Olives, beer, coffee, all bitter. I value the bitterness lurking in green teas. To a degree, of course. There's no better contrast for chocolate, in my experience, not to mention the wide flavor palettes of Asian food. Why would we want to eliminate a natural element of tea, anyway?

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. I never thought about this way. Tea is favored because it's a bitter taste that's lacking in the monoflavor diet pushed by big marketing in America. It sounds feasible to me. --Spirituality of Tea