So i've ordered 2 different brands of gynostemma (or jiaogulan in chinese) and they each taste very differently. The first one I've ordered tastes extremely bitter, the second one I've ordered tastes light and sweet, even though I can detect somewhat of a similar bitter after taste.

According to the boxes they are both 100% gynostemma leaf, and the tea bags appear to be exactly the same in size. Why does one taste very bitter why the other one doesn't? Is it possible the leaves from the first box were older when i ordered them?

3 Answers 3


"However, it is known that the chemical constituents of GP planted in different areas are very different in composition.17,18 Furthermore, there are two taste variants, sweet and bitter, for GP herbs, which have different clinical application in folk medicine in China.18-21"

Chemical Differentiation of Two Taste Variants of Gynostemma pentaphyllum by Using UPLC–Q-TOF-MS and HPLC–ELSD Jing-Guang Lu†‡, Lin Zhu‡, Kate Y. W. Lo‡, Alexander K. M. Leung‡, Alan H. M. Ho‡, Hong-Yang Zhang§, Zhong-Zhen Zhao‡, David W. F. Fong‡, and Zhi-Hong Jiang*†‡

J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013, 61, 1, 90–97


  • You might want to explain more in your own words, which will be easier to understand for many people. Also, no need for the entire citation, a link is enough here ;)
    – Esther
    Apr 29, 2022 at 21:50

Age won't change the flavour of gynostemma tea much. The difference in taste can be due to 2 reason:

  1. Raw material: the picking is a different grade (younger leaves versus larger leaves). There's also a seasonal and regional difference in taste.
  2. Processing: given the extreme difference in flavors, most probably it's the processing that makes the taste differ so much. Producers use different techniques to drying and roasting. With very bitter gynostemma, there has been no regard for taste when they're produced. Most likely, the goal was for such gynostemma to be part of a final medicinal blend for just for medicial use. Tasty gynostemma teas are often made with optimizing the taste in mind, and are meant for pure drinking. A technique that is often used is by brushing the edges of the leaves as well as rolling the leaves. This allows the sweet flavors to come more to the surface allow for a nicer taste experience. Other things that are considered are how much water content should be left in the final product and to what degree the leaves are first left to oxidize before the oxidation is stopped ('fixing').

If they come from 2 different brands, there can be many reason why they taste different.

Could be harvested from different areas; picked at different time/season and/or mishandled.

Could have been badly stored and packaged.

  • Might be sun grown vs shade grown or sun dried vs shade dried. Those make for flavor differences. Jun 20, 2018 at 22:49

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