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Astringency Explained

June 18, 2011

For an explanation on how the sensory attribute ASTRINGENCY is formed in InnOrbit Drinks and other fine foods like wine etc:

Astringency Explained

Many infusion and tea ingredients are rich in phenolics. Phenolics are found in the leaves and flowers which are used in many natural and traditional food items like InnOrbit drinks.  They give a complex and highly aromatic flavour and are extracted when water is poured over the infusion mix.  Similar phenolic compounds are found in red wine which give it its characteristic astringency.There are many types of phenolics in infusion ingredients, and, depending on their chemical structure, these substances play a unique part in the way the infusion tastes, looks and feels in the mouth.

For example, catechins are known for their bitterness. Flavanols can be more astringent.

Saliva contains proteins that lubricate the surface of the mouth. When we drink an infusion or a tea, salivary proteins can react with the phenolics found in these drinks.

When a protein reacts with certain phenolics (e.g. tannin), they form a larger structure….effectively glued together by bonds which can react with more proteins and phenolics and like a snowball form even bigger molecules. These large structures are so heavy that they precipitate.  The lubricating proteins therefore are no longer doing there job of lubricating – they are effectively tied up with the phenolics and the mouth  “feels” dry.  The receptors in the mouth signal to the brain the existence of this “rough”, drying sensation known as astringency.

InnOrbit drink astringency can be a positive taste sensation and also change with time and in others it can be a very subtle attribute (due to concentration differences and different phenolics present in the ingredients).

There are several descriptors which can be used and all revolve around the feeling of having a fine powder in the mouth e.g. Powdery, Chalky, Grainy. More subtle descriptions may include Silky, Emery, Velvety, Furry.

Higher levels of astringency, like those found in wine, can cause the sensation to be even stronger e.g. Pucker, Chewy, Grippy and Adhesive.

In wine and other fine foods a similar reaction occurs with tannins and similar compounds and some terms you may read include Soft, Supple, Fleshy, and Rich.

“The subtle sensation of astringency is an important sensory attribute of InnOrbit Drinks and is an important part of the overall drinking experience.”


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