Bittering agent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the use as a food additive. For use as an aversive agent, see Bitterant.

A bittering agent is a flavoring agent added to a food or beverage to impart a bitter taste, possibly in addition to other effects. While many substances are bitter to a greater or lesser degree, a few substances are used specifically for their bitterness, especially to balance other flavors, such as sweetness. Notable beverage examples include caffeine, found naturally in tea and coffee and added to many soft drinks, hops in beer, and quinine in tonic water.

Food examples include bitter melon, which may be mixed into a stir fry or soup for its bitter flavor.


Prior to the introduction of hops, many other bitter herbs and flowers were used as bittering agents in beer, in a mixture called gruit, which could include dandelion, burdock root, marigold, horehound (the German name for horehound means "mountain hops"), ground ivy, and heather.[1]

More recently, some Chinese and Okinawan beer uses bitter melon as a bittering agent.[2]

Other substances[edit]

Various other substances are used, including:

Other uses[edit]

Other prominent uses of bittering agents include: