Adding salt to tea?

Being from the south, one of the tricks I learned early on when eating watermelon was to add a light sprinkling of salt to bring out the sweetness. I’m not sure what possessed me recently to try to expand on that concept, but I decided that I would try adding a small amount of salt to my tea and I think I rather like it.

In the past I’ve always had tea with milk and sweetener. In recent years, the sweetener has been sucralose - which I can’t really distinguish from sugar except by texture. I’ve also switched over to a common bagged tea for convenience but since I especially love the Swee-Touch-Nee brand orange pekoe, I’m perfectly happy with that. It does have a little bit of a bite from the tannins though when taken without milk.

I’ve tried adding between 5 and 10 grains of pretzel salt to my brew along with sweetener and it seems to enhance the sweetness up until the point where a salty flavor is detectable. It also seems to reduce the bite from tannins or whatever else it was that used to notice and that adding milk also reduced.

I’m interested in hearing any thoughts on this. I’m sure that there is some sort of masking or taste bud trickery going on here, but I don’t really know what it might be. Thanks.

My first reaction is that most people already have too much salt in their diets so whilst this might improve the taste of some foods, it’s not a habit I would consider taking up. However it appears that the flavour of salt reduces the taste of bitterness.

Here’s an article that goes some way to explaining it: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Study-suggests-why-salt-can-boost-sweet-taste-perception

Folks where I used to work sprinkled salt over the coffee before brewing to reduce bitterness.

This is (or at least, once was) common in the US Navy as well. JFK always had urns of “Navy” coffee brewing when he was in the White House.