the 5 tastes of tea - what is salt

What is the taste of salt?

We are finally here! The conclusion to the 5 Tastes of Tea Series. We end this week with Salt and it's rather quick. I didn't spend a lot of time reiterating all I've covered in the previous four podcasts and their is very little known about how we taste salt that I was unable to fill out the whole half hour! 

Now there are not many teas that have a salty taste. From my research, on average, 100g of tea has only 4mg of Salt in it. And I've yet to find the person who brews 100g of tea in a single sitting.......any takers?

One curious tidbit I came across was how salt doesn't actually increase the flavour of foods. Rather it suppresses the bitterness by blocking the neuro-transmissions. An interesting look at things given how prevalent salt is in cooking. The more you know!

Progression of the Show


  • World Tea Podcast
  • Apologies for the last weeks technical trouble – Coupon code at the end of the show via email!
  • Continuing with the 5 Tastes of tea Series


  • Bitterness – Catechins/Polyphenols
  • Sour – Hydrogen Ions
  • Sweet – Carbohydrates/Sugars
  • Umami – Amino Acids/Glutamate/L-Theanine
  • This week SALT!

Salt - What is it?

  • Sodium (Na) and Chloride (Cl)
  • Toxic on their own, essential together
  • Many Kinds
    • Table Salt
    • Koscher Salt
    • Sea Salt
    • Rock Salt
      • All are NaCl, but with varying sizes and with different levels of trace minerals and elements used for anti-clumping purposes or as remains of impurities during exrtraction.
  • Sodium – Cation, positive charge
  • Chloride, - Anion, negative charge
    • They are ions, electrolytes holding an electrical charge to move voltages across cell membranes so that our body can function. Nerves, muscles depend on salt within our blood. The Kidneys regulate our electrolytes.

On the Tongue

  • Again, like most tastes, we do not know a lot. What we do know about Salt is that is it appears to be a result of the interactions between the ion channels along the taste buds, similar to how the taste of Sour works. Except, instead of hydrogen ions causing a depolarization within the taste bud, it is Na cations.
  • The ion channels involved seem to be those called the ENaC, or epithelial amiloride-sensitive sodium channel. The only issue is that this cause of taste is very prevalent in how mice taste salt.....not so much in how humans taste salt.