You may have stumbled across nettle tea while looking for ways to treat various ailments. You saw it had an abundance of healing properties, and are almost ready to brew a cup. But you just aren’t sure what nettle tea tastes like.
Nettles have an earthy flavor that’s slightly tangy with some peppery notes, somewhat like spinach. However, when made into tea, the flavor is somewhat more potent. Nettle tea tastes mildly bitter, but the strength of the bitterness depends on the concentrations of the nettles.
If you want the benefit of nettle tea, but are turned off by its bitterness you have some options. You can brew fewer nettles making the flavor milder, but drinking more cups. Or, you can brew your nettles with other herbs such as peppermint, raspberry leaves, or lemon balm.
What Do the Experts Say
In 2017 researchers did a study to determine the sensory characteristics of leaf infusions, or tea. It concluded the taste and aroma of nettle tea vary. This is attributed to where the nettle was grown and in which type of soil.
They found 27 different aromas and flavors from twelve panelists that were trained to decipher the differences in characteristics.
According to the research, most panelists classified the nettle tea as tasting green-herblike, green-leafy, or green spinach. Those same properties were listed for aroma as well.
However, overall the panelists found that nettle tea tasted bitter.
What Makes Nettle Tea Bitter
The most common reason that nettle tea tastes bitter is that nettle is often harvested too late. In order to get nettles that are tender and more green tasting, you need to harvest them before they flower. If they have already begun to flower, your nettles will be tough and bitter.
What Are Nettles
Nettles are generally referred to as stinging nettles. They are green, leafy plants whose leaves are covered with sharp hairs that inject irritates into the skin. They can cause itchiness or swelling.
So why would you want to ingest a plant that causes physical discomfort? Well, once the nettles are either soaked in water or cooked, they no longer pose a threat. Most of the nettle you can buy has already been removed of irritants.
While we’re focusing on nettle tea today, there are other ways to consume nettles. In addition to simply eating them as is, they can be cooked into sauces, soups, anything you can think of!
While nettle tea can taste bitter, it has a wide range of health properties that make drinking it worthwhile.
If you enjoy a somewhat bitter brew (some do!) make yourself an easy nettle tea. However, you find the bitter taste of nettle tea offputting, try one of these teas instead.