The Chemistry of Tea

Isn't nature astonishing?? It’s this bottomless abyss of amazing things to learn about and experience. Our thirsty team is endlessly searching for flavorful earth-grown ingredients to include in our bubbly beverages, and — surprise! — tea is one of our faves.

At Rowdy Mermaid, we look at tea the way pollinators look at flowers: “Ooohh, pretty. We want it. We must have it!” Tea draws us in with its magical aromas, luscious flavors and long, earthy tradition. It’s the ingredient that inspired us to create crisp, bubbly kombuchas so delightfully un-kombucha-like that even kids want to dive in. And it ebbs and flows with natural wellness properties that make us jealous of ourselves when we drink it.

Net-net: tea is tops. So naturally, we wanted to learn everything there is to know about it. We geek out on the science of our ingredients, and we found ourselves wondering about how tea gets its color and taste. The answer: polyphenols.


Polyphenols are a type of compound found in plants. A strong cup of tea might contain 180–240mg of them, and black tea contains a variety called catechins. When oxidized (translation: exposed to air during the drying process), these catechins become theaflavins, which give tea its red-orange hue, and thearubigens, which contribute to both color and taste. Both of these super scientific compounds have antioxidant properties and are known to be anti-inflammatory.  

A lot of awe can fit in a can.

We use three different types of tea in the creation of our quenching and craveable recipes.


Black tea is oxidized and is the most widely used in Western cultures. Once picked, the leaves are left to dry out in the sun allowing their natural compounds to react with the air and begin fermenting.

Both black and green teas contain trace levels of vitamins* (A, B, C, D, E, H, K and B5), minerals* (chromium, manganese, selenium, nitrogen, phosphorus and zinc) and a feel-good amino acid called L-Theanine that’s known to promote relaxation. Ahhhh.


Green tea is unoxidized, which enables it to retain its natural green color as well as some of the nutrients that are lost in the sun-drying oxidation process of black tea. Green tea has less caffeine than black tea and contains powerful antioxidants.


Rooibos, also known as red tea or African red bush, is not a true tea. It’s oxidized like black tea, and its nourishing brew contains high levels of vitamins, minerals and potentially even higher levels of antioxidants than tea leaves. Rooibos also contains a bronchodilator polyphenol that may help ease the respiratory system from daily stressors.  


And perhaps most exciting: rooibos does not contain caffeine (pause for fanfare and celebration) making it the not-so-secret-secret to our caffeine frre Roaring Pineapple and Watermelon Bloom kombuchas.

Responsible roots

Want to feel even better about your sipping? Get this: all of our teas are organically and regeneratively grown by our partner Teatulía Tea. Our love for sustainable sourcing is rivaled only by, well, our love of tea. So, grab a can of your favorite Rowdy Mermaid flavor and check out what this inspiring Denver-based partner is doing to make the world a better place with tea.

* Not significant sources

Take the dive into the deep end.