Why does tea taste better the day after brewing?

I’m in the heart of Dixie here so I’m talking about sweet tea, which will be served over ice. Had we won the war I wouldn’t have to clarify what I mean by tea. :wink:

Anyway, the “tastes better” is an opinion, I know. But it is an opinion shared by all the tea brewers I’ve ever met. It definitely tastes different the next day, as does any sugar-sweetened cold drink. So what is up, does it take a certain amount of time for the sugar to completely disolve? Am I showing a preference for early stage fermentation?


My WAG is the latter. That’s all I got.

It’s an interesting question! I’ve noticed when I make salsa, its always better the next day. I never really thought about it very hard. I assumed it has something to do with the diffusion of oils–for some reason, more diffuse means better taste. But upon reflection, that seems like nonsense.

So what could be making the difference? And is it the same as for tea? Could it be some kind of fermentation in both cases?


Since you brought it up. I’ve noticed almost any foodstuff where tomatoes, red meats and spices are involved (spaghetti, sloppy joes, casseroles, etc.) taste better the next day. Same process? I dunno? Hopefully someone with a scientific approach to the culinary arts can shed some light. Any dopers been trained as a chef?


I think a couple of well-known mercantile interests- like, say, the East India Company and Jardine Matheson- may have more to answer for in this respect that the outcome of a minor spat between the locals in a former part of the British Empire that didn’t even know how to play cricket. :wink:

Well I don’t know about the tea thing, but as for the tomato-based foods, it’s probably just that the ingredients have had more time to seep into each other.


Had we won the other war, you wouldn’t have to clarify it either, 'cos there’s no way you’d be drinking yesterday’s tea, cold. :eek:

That’s what I thought before, as well, but after thinking about it I realized this doesn’t make sense. All the ingredients are there, before and after “seeping,” so it shouldn’t make a difference in the taste.

Unless the idea is that they undergo some kind of reaction as a result of contact?


Culinaria has a word for this, which is where flavors “marry”, but I don’t have any explanation for it.

Interesting, chaoticbear — I’ve always heard the phrase: “the flavors meld” (not marry).

I know that the general idea is that the flavors of the various ingredients “soften” during the resting phase. That is, they mellow out a little bit. This allows them to mix together and not attempt to overpower each other.

I wish I knew the science. Alas, McGee has failed me today. But I do know, anecdotally, that this is a real phenomenon. It is very noticable in things like homemade salsa or guacamole.

On a more important note, please, please, PLEASE — let’s keep this thread to ourselves and keep our English Dopers in the dark. If they get word that this “sweet tea” thing is being discussed then the Revolution just may erupt again. At the very least, we’ll have to hear all about proper brewing methods and looseleaf this and that, and the history of the proper English Breakfast. From there, who knows what might happen? Discussions of the monarchy, wrong-side driving, punters, lifts, or the sweet sport of cricket. shudder :slight_smile:

You let your guacamole sit a day before you eat it?

:: shudder ::

I brought a 10 pound transformer and an ice tea machine with me when I moved to the UK from the US.

I got picked on quite a bit by the Brits for drinking ice tea, as you can imagine. I was told that tea should be hot and have milk in it! Yuk!

In the heat wave of the summer of 2003. It seemed especially odd to me that they were still drinking coffee and hot tea while thousands of folks were dying from heat prostration. I found relief from the heat by soaking in my tub filled with cold water and a big glass of ice tea!!

The other problem that I had, was that I trying to buy a decent box fan which are ubiquitous in the southern US. All that I could find in the UK were these tiny 6 inch desk fans. I couldn’t find any 20 pound bags of ice either. Just little two pound bags of party ice.

The Brits were great. I enjoyed my stay, but was glad to come back to Texas where they have air conditioning, ice tea, decent size cars (yank tanks) and watermelons…

Sorry…guess I ran off on a tangent… and started rambling… I digress…

The peanut butter is better in the states too, but they have us beat on good beer!!!

Absolutely not. But true to my nature, when I make guacamole. I MAKE GUACAMOLE. Avocados, more avocados, and more avocados. Yes, it’s a sin not to eat it all at once, but I’d basically have to save the Pope’s baby from the wreckage of a burning airplane in order to score enough brownie-points to get to heaven. So I’m not too worried about it.

And so the leftover guacamole melds - and here was my point: You can tell a definite difference in the flavors. A softening and a … melding, I suppose.

Besides - leftover guacamole inspires — no, compels — me to cook mexican the next day for lunch. That’s always pleasant. Give it a shot.

Besides, at least I don’t buy guacamole! That must be worth something on the Snooty Metered Excalibre Guacamole Measuring Scale (SMEGMA)!

SMEGMA? Why, oh why?! Why, would I take the time to think this shit up? Seriously!

Tzatziki, too. And per the references to tomato recipes, gazpacho is another dish that almost demands half a day’s rest in the fridge before it’s ready to eat.

Are you making your tea with tomatoes? :wink:

Don’t be silly. You make wine with tomatoes, not tea.

Well, perhaps not a “reaction” per se, but it seems to me the interseeping of different ingredients does produce a different effect. I mean, that’s the reason you let soup sit instead of just tossing the ingredients into water and serving.

Hmmm…tomatoes are pretty acidic. Could that acid be breaking down the other ingredients in some way?

This hypothesis does nothing for my non-tomato-tea original question.

Blend. That’s the word for it. The flavors BLEND overnight.