Indeed, there are many "herbal teas," including mushroom tea. Each has its unique health benefits. Nonetheless, Black Tea and Green Tea stand out as the most popular.
If you didn't know, Black Tea and Green Tea come from the same plant－Camellia sinesis. Nonetheless, despite this overwhelming similarity, they are very different from each other.
Today, we'll look at the differences between Black Tea and Green Tea. We'll go deep into their details and composition and figure out which one is the best for you. We'll also try and explain which is the healthiest of the two.
After the leaves of the Camellia sinesis are extracted, they undergo different processes to produce different types of teas. Besides, Black Tea and Green Tea, we also have White Tea.
The main difference between Black Tea and Green Tea is the level of oxidation each has undergone. Oxidation is the process of exposing tea leaves to air for a specific duration. The more you expose the tea leaves, the higher the resulting oxidation levels. It's the same process that turns a white apple slice to brown.
Black Tea leaves experience more oxidation hence their brown or black colour. On the other hand, immediately after harvesting, processors heat Green Tea leaves in stirring pans or steaming rooms to stop the oxidation process.
Indeed, both teas come from the same plant. However, Camellia sinesis has different varietals that vary with place and growing conditions. Varietals come about when the plant is grown in certain locations for many years. Therefore, it adapts and develops unique appropriate characteristics necessary for survival.
There are two main Camellia sinesis varietals－The Camellia sinesis var. sinesis and the Camellia sinesis var. assamica.
The Camellia sinesis var. sinesis primarily grows in China and other Asian countries. It's also the only varietal that produces Green Tea. On the other hand, you can obtain Black Tea from both varietals. The Camellia sinesis var. assamica primarily grows in India.
Tea-making is an art. There are unique rules for making each. Brewery or preparation is also one of the main differences between Green Tea and Black Tea.
For Black Tea, we advise you to use boiling water of around 212 F. Additionally, steep it in hot water for three to five minutes. Of course, many other Black Tea varieties might require less or more time. It's up to you to experiment and discover what suits your taste (The beauty of tea-making).
On the other hand, Green Tea is more "delicate" than Black Tea. Generally, we advise you to use relatively hot water at lower temperatures of 175 F. For specific Green Tea variants like the Gyokuro and Kabusechas Japanese Tea, you should use water at even lower temperatures of around 140 F. On top of that, the steeping time is also shorter (Around one to two minutes).
If you use boiling hot water for Green Tea or longer steeping times, you'll burn the leaves and end up with a bitter and unwanted tea.
Looks and Taste
For most people, looks and tastes are the most recognisable identifiers for Black Tea and Green Tea. Each has its unique zing.
Black Tea, because of its processing and brewing methods, has a darker appearance and stronger flavour. Most of the time, people prefer to add sweeteners like honey, fruit malt, or spices. Generally, Indian Black Teas tend to be "strong." Nonetheless, we also have Chinese Black Tea that is still "strong" but slightly soft in appearance and taste.
As you might have guessed, Green Tea is much lighter and more delicate than Black Tea. Generally, it tends to have a golden or white appearance. Its taste is also less bitter with slight vegetable and nutty notes. That said, we also have Japanese Green Tea that tends to be "darker" and slightly resembles Black Tea.
More often than not, Black Teas have higher caffeine levels than Green Teas.
For most Black Teas, their caffeine content is about half of what you’d find in a cup of plain coffee. On the other hand, Green Teas contain a quarter of what you’d expect from a cup of coffee.
There are many different variants of Black Tea and Green Tea. Some Black Tea variants like Wakoucha have lower caffeine levels than some Green Teas. Likewise, some shade-grown Green Tea variants have higher caffeine levels than some Black Teas.
Because of different processing, Green Tea and Black Tea have slightly different nutrient content.
Since Green Tea has lower oxidation levels, it retains more key nutrients than Black Tea. Green Tea also undergoes different fermentation processes that preserve more polyphenols than Black Tea. Therefore, it's much richer in antioxidants than Black Tea－Specifically, Green Tea has more of the Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) antioxidant (A very crucial and powerful one).
Benefits of the EGCG antioxidants
- Although research is still ongoing, it has the potential to fight and kill cancerous cells.
- It's an anti-fatigue compound that boosts energy levels.
- It's an anti-microbial that destroys bacteria cells and can reduce some virus transmissions.
- Some experts believe it can interact with brain receptors to exert a calming effect on the body.
- Some studies suggest it prevents the development of fatty livers.
Wait! Black Tea is still beneficial to the body. While it may possess lower EGCG levels, it has a unique group of polyphenols that don’t exist in Green Tea－Theaflavins.
Theaflavins are unique antioxidants that form during the oxidation process.
Benefits of Theaflavins antioxidants
- They support the body’s natural antioxidant production.
- They fight against free radicals, thus preventing DNA and cell damage.
- They boost blood vessels and heart health by reducing plaque formation in blood vessels.
- They can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Therefore, have great potential for use in obesity management.
Black Tea Vs Green Tea: Which is healthier?
Indeed, because of less oxidation, Green Tea has a higher nutrient count than Black Tea. On top of that, Green Teas have less caffeine than most Black Teas. Therefore, it’s only natural to conclude that Green Tea is healthier than Black Tea.
That said, the margin of "healthiness" isn't outstanding (Only a little bit).