Tea 101: Differences Between Green Tea and Black Tea
In China, the history of drinking tea could be traced back to thousands of years ago. Some enjoy green tea, while others prefer black one. So you may be curious about the differences between green tea and black tea and which one is better for our health.
Whether it’s green or black tea, all comes from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis. So what distinguishes them? It comes down to processing and oxidation, the chemical process that causes browning.
To produce green tea, leaves are harvested, withered, and then heated through steaming (Japanese style) or pan-firing (Chinese style). This process halts oxidation so the leaves retain their color and delicate, fresh flavor. (Tips: When to drink green tea for weight loss?)
To produce black tea, leaves are harvested and withered and then crushed, torn, curled, or rolled and allowed to oxidize before being dried. As a result the leaves darken and develop a stronger flavor and aroma.
You can learn more types of tea, and know its process.
What’s the difference between green tea and black tea?
Black tea is made by oxidizing the leaves of a tea shrub, after the leaves are picked, they’re left to dry in a gradual way. This can make black tea taste sweeter than green tea. So, it is always chosen to make sweet tea. For green tea, the leaves are immediately heated. This keeps the leaves fresher, and it retains the color, and natural flavor, of the tea shrub.
- Caffeine content
Although green tea typically has less caffeine than black tea, this is not always the case. Caffeine content may vary depending on the plant varietal, processing, and brewing methods. The caffeine content of green tea ranges from 24-40 mg per cup and black tea ranges from 14-61 mg per cup. (Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?)
- Antioxidants content
Green and black tea both contains antioxidants, which may prevent cancer and other diseases. For years research focused on the health properties of green tea. Recent studies indicate that black tea has benefits as well. In each case oxidation or non-oxidation gives the tea a different set of antioxidant compounds.
Which one is better: green tea or black tea?
You’ll be getting health benefits no matter which tea you choose, but there’s much more evidence to back up the benefits of green tea more than black tea. While both are stuffed full of antioxidants, green tea is widely thought to be more effective at potentially reducing the risk of cancer and heart problems.
The difference comes from the way the teas are prepared. Since green tea is closer to the natural leaf, it will carry more of the beneficial ingredients. Black tea still retains some of these elements, but green tea has a more concentrated amount.
After knowing the differences between green tea and black tea, which one is your preference? If you’re shopping purely for flavor, then you should try both green and black tea before making a judgment. But if you’re looking for the added health benefits, green tea is probably the right choice. Anyway, it’s always recommended whatever you eat or drink, you are expected to consume everything in moderation.