Tea: coffee’s coy competitor in the cutthroat—yet throat-soothing—world of hot beverages. Both provide daily stimulant boosts, both are great to share with a loved one, and both are steeped in rich and complex histories.
But popular teas (like green tea, black tea, and even tea extract and tea constituents) have something coffee doesn’t—an amino acid celebrated for its cognitive performance and wider health benefits: L-theanine (L-THEE-uh-neen).
If you have a cup of green tea or black tea in front of you, take a sip. Savor those tocopherols and flavonoids lending the cup its signature color and flavor. The tea leaves’ distinct bitterness is supplied by natural antioxidants knowns as catechins.1
But there’s another flavor you should be experiencing. A pleasant mouth-filling sensation that creates a rounded and savory taste. Umami, often called the fifth taste after bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. Tea’s umami flavor is all thanks to the non-protein amino acid, L-theanine.1
In this article, we won’t just stick to why tea is so tasty. We’ll talk about the positive effects L-theanine can have on your stress levels, cognitive performance, and cardiovascular and immune health.