When foraying into tea territory, you'll often find mentions of green and black tea. If you've only had a few fruity teas before, it might all seem confusing.
So this article will explain the differences between green and black tea, both in taste and in health benefits. That way you can take a well informed decision as to which tea you'll pick out for yourself.
1. Green tea has different levels and types of antioxidants than black tea
Right off the bat, green tea seems to be a clear winner here. The way each tea is processed strips or cooks away some antioxidants, which are heat-sensitive.
Green tea has more of these than black tea, because it's a tea that's roasted on a lower temperature and for a shorter time than black tea. These antioxidants are called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
They mostly help with inhibiting cancer cells from multiplying, reducing fatigue and exertion, lower the incidence of fatty liver for those on a high fat diet, and it's also calming because of the way caffeine from tea works.
If you really want a healthy kick of antioxidants, you should check out Matcha - the greenest green tea ever.
That being said it's not like black tea is something to kick out of your cupboard. Black tea does lose some antioxidants during its firing process, but it gains some other benefits which aren't as widely known.
Black tea contains theaflavins, which are unique to it. You won't find it in any other tea, be it green, white, Oolong or Pu-erh. So these theaflavins are responsible for some health benefits that make up for the green tea ones.
For one, theaflavins have been shown to help your body produce its own antioxidants, which is always great. They also help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which is again a major benefit.
They help break down fat, and also protect the fat cells from free radicals, which is also an aid in preventing cancerous cells from developing or spreading.
You could say they're just as helpful as green tea antioxidants, but they're both useful.
2. Green tea has a slightly higher caffeine content than black tea
The caffeine content in these two teas is different, yes, but not terribly so. As in, both of them have less than half the caffeine found in coffee. But black tea has less caffeine than green tea, which is something you'll find the internet can never agree upon.
Now the reason for the higher content of caffeine in green tea is because the leaves used for green tea are simply younger. The same reason white tea has a higher caffeine content then green tea, because there the tea buds and shoots are used.
But the clearest winner is Matcha, because it's pure green tea, which you ingest entirely, not just a brew.
Back to green tea and black tea, the difference is there but it's not 10 times less. Black tea can have anywhere between 40 to 120 mg of caffeine in 226 g of tea. That’s 0.0014-0.004 oz of caffeine for 8 oz of brewed tea.
Green tea has more caffeine than black tea, so if you're looking for something to switch up your caffeine intake then green tea might be the answer.
Just remember that the caffeine in tea acts differently than the one in coffee. It releases in a slower fashion, acting more like a gentle and steady wake-up. Caffeine from coffee is more harsh and will wake you up with a jolt.
This has to do with how the way caffeine will bond with the L-theanine elements released by your tea. So you can thank green and black tea for this as well.
When choosing a tea for its caffeine content remember to check if it's got many spears of buds in its leaves. These are the youngest parts of the tea plant and they contain the most caffeine.
3. Fat burning is easier with green tea
Because green tea has such an astringent capacity, it will also help reduce fat cell size and your body will be very thankful. This has a lot to do with the polyphenols found in green tea, which are responsible for most of the health benefits of green tea.
Of course this does not mean that a cup of quality green tea will save you from a cheeseburger. There is much more to fat burning than just drinking green tea.
Still, if you're on a quest to reduce fat and help your body become slim then green tea will help you with that as well.
Another reason green tea seems to help with weight loss is because a large part of it is visual. Body fat takes up a lot of space, and once it shrinks it's very noticeable.
Bloating is something green tea will also help with, since it has a mild diuretic effect. So you won't be feeling very bloated when drinking green tea regularly.
Just, the astringency can become too much for your stomach and trigger hunger if you're not careful, so don't overdo it.
4. Black tea is easier to get used to for coffee drinkers
If you're a coffee drinker and you love your morning coffee, but for some reason need to let it go, then black tea might be easier on you. Even if it has a little less caffeine than green tea.
Black tea, aside from resembling a weak coffee both in look and in flavor, is an easier transition than green tea. This is mostly due to the astringency of green tea.
Aside from this black tea has a much bolder, darker flavor than green tea. Green tea is a bit more delicate when compared to black tea.
This bold flavor in black tea makes it easier to accept for coffee drinkers, and it's not a bad substitute for coffee.
In fact breakfast teas are black teas (all of them, as far as I know), and they've long been used as the morning brew of many Westerners. The caffeine in tea will bond with the L-theanine in released by the tea and as such is gentler on your metabolism.
If you'd liek to know more about the caffeine in black tea, and how much it resembles coffee, you should check this out.
So this meant that if you're a coffee drinker who hates the sudden jolt of an espresso, black tea might just be the answer for you. It's easy enough to brew, and can be adjusted to your taste exactly like coffee. It takes sugar and milk very well.
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5. Black tea is also easier to brew for beginners
When it comes to brewing the tea, black tea is easier on newcomers than green tea.
Green tea is very sensitive and requires a certain temperature for the water, which is 80 C/176 F. And it should not be steeped for very long, about 2-3 minutes since it can become much too bitter.
Black tea on the other hand only needs 90 C/194 F water, and can be steeped for a little longer like 3-5 minutes. Black tea can become scalded too and thus get bitter, but you have a much lower chance than with green tea.
There is also the fact that if you do mess up your black tea and it's too bitter, it will take milk and sugar well enough.
Once you do get used to brewing black tea, you'll find green tea isn't very different, there's just a bit more care involved.
6. Black and green tea are made in different ways
When it comes to the production of green and black teas, this is where they become very obviously different. Though both teas come from the exact same plant - Camellia sinensis - they are made of different leaves.
Green tea is made from young adult leaves of the tea plant, which are picked and them sent to be processed. In Japan the processing method involves steaming them to preserve the green grassy flavor. And the green color of the leaves as well.
Then they are dried and rolled into the leaves we all know today.
The Chinese method involved pan-firing or over baking the leaves, instead of steaming them. This take the green hue away from the leaves, and the resulting brew isn't green but rather a golden color.
This is a process that dries the leaves at the same time it oxidizes them, so their taste will be different than a Japanese green tea.
Regardless of how they're processed, both Japanese and Chinese green teas are very lightly oxidized, just enough to keep for a year. The main focus with them is to preserve their green flavor.
Black teas are made of slightly older leaves than green teas. This means that the leaves will have less caffeine in them, as the plant is now older.
When the leaves are picked, they too are sent to be processed. Only this process takes longer and does not stop where the green tea stops.
The whole point of the black tea is to obtain a deeper, darker brew with a maltier taste than green tea. This is a tea that is meant to be stronger in taste than green tea, not as delicate or floral, but rather spicy or fruity.
Given how the black tea was processed, it will not go bad for several years and its flavor will not be lost for just as many years. Green tea on the other hand will lose its flavor in about a year.
7. Green tea is more astringent, black tea is more malty
The flavor difference between green and black tea really is an entire book's worth. But in short green tea is more astringent, grassy, green, more like green grapes and fresh cucumber or zucchini. It can get bitter if left to steep for too long, or of the tea is bad.
Black tea is more of a malty, nutty flavor. It retains none of the grassy flavor of green tea, but it can be vegetal in some cups. Often it can take on a spicy and fruity flavor, like the second flush of the Darjeeling tea in India.
The way these two teas are made gives them a different flavor profile. That being said, they both take fruits and flowers very well, just differently.
For example mango. A juicy, sweet, tropical fruit. The kind of sweet that can make any drink bearable, muck like how pineapple or peach can do the same.
A mango green tea will be fruity, yea, but it will bring out the sharpness in the sweetness of the mango. The light taste of the green tea will lift the mango too, and this will all taste like a wonderful summer drink. It would be an instant favorite as an iced tea.
Now let's add mango to black tea. The mango note, which is a higher, lighter note than the deep, dark, malty black tea will be a contrast to the black tea.
This will make the tea have more of a depth than the green tea version, because the black tea will keep it 'grounded' while the mango shows you that a black tea can be fruity and fun too.
Flowers like jasmine or cornflower would work about the same with green tea and black tea. The green will lift an already light flavor, and the black will contrast the light floral flavors.
Which tea you choose is completely up to you. Both the black and green tea are full of health benefits, and they're very easy on the metabolism.
Both are made of the same tea plant, so essentially you're getting the same nutrients (almost). It really depends on what you;d like more out of your tea.
Would you like a bolder tea, which can easily replace your coffee and help your blood pressure ?
Or would you rather steer towards a lighter, fresher tea which will help burn fat and provide antioxidants to your body ?
I for one can't really decide between green and black tea, and i always have both close at hand for a quick cup. Whichever tea you choose, please make sure you get yourself a loose leaf version.
Loose leaves brew much better and give you the full aroma of the tea, rather than the one dimensional tea bag.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?