Black Tea vs. Green Tea — Everything You Need to Know
Black Tea vs. Green Tea
One of the most common things we get asked at Clearview Tea is about the differences between black tea and green tea. They come from the same plant but their colour, flavour profiles and caffeine levels differ. That's because their production processes are not the same.
Despite being some of the most popular tea types in the world, there is still some mystery around green and black tea. We'll discuss green and black teas differences, production styles, and their similarities including the reported health benefits so you can choose which cup of tea is right for you.
Green Tea vs. Black Tea
Black and green tea are both made from the same tea plant - the Camellia Sinensis. The Camellia Sinensis is a bush originating from South Asia, whose light to dark green leaves are used to make tea. The most obvious difference between all teas, including black and green tea, is how the tea leaves are processed after they are picked from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant.
Black tea goes through a fermentation process, which oxidates the tea, while green tea does not. This fundamentally changes the chemical composition of black tea and leads to those obvious differences between green and black tea. The longer that tea is left to oxidize, the stronger the tea gets.
To oxidize tea, the leaves are crushed, exposed to air and then left to dry and darken under specific conditions. Tea that is fully oxidized turns black. However, other teas like white or green tea are not fully oxidized so they will retain a different colour.
Green tea leaves are not put through the oxidation process. Instead, the same leaves are pan fired or steamed so that they whither but don't oxidate. This helps green teas retain their green hue and maintain their distinct, different flavours.
Caffeine Content Between Black and Green Teas
Both green tea and black tea are regarded as stimulants. They each contain caffeine, with green containing slightly less. Black tea will typically contain between 40 to 70 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce serving, while green tea contains 35 to 45 milligrams per eight-ounce serving. Compare this to the 95 to 200 milligrams that coffee contains and you'll soon realize that drinking tea is a great way to get a caffeine boost without the coffee jitters.
Black teas tend to have more caffeine on average than green teas because of the oxidation process. However, caffeine levels can vary from plant to plant and can be affected by how long a cup of tea is steeped.
All tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant including oolong and white tea contain some level of caffeine. Only herbal tea & rooibos tea do not contain caffeine. That is because they are considered a "tisane" and not a true tea from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Caffeine-free herbal teas combine spices, edible flowers and leaves to achieve their flavour profile.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea and Black Tea
Besides acting as a stimulant, green and black tea have a number of benefits. For many tea drinkers, their daily cup of tea is a ritual that helps them calm their nervous system and start or end their day. As the second most consumed drink in the world (after water) there has been a lot of research into the potential health benefits and medicinal properties of tea. However, the science around tea is always evolving.
Both black and green tea are rich sources of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. Studies have looked into how antioxidants can protect against free radicals and help improve the immune system. Catechins have also been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved heart health.
There is some debate about the polyphenol composition of black and green teas. Some studies, quote green teas as being higher in antioxidants while others have concluded the two teas have similar benefits.
The green tea amino acid L-Theanine is what gives the tea its grassy flavour. Some studies have reported this amino acid produces a calming effect in tea drinkers. Other similar health benefits that have been reported include increased brain function, heart and blood vessels function and weight loss but these studies tend to be more speculative in nature.
Green tea should be light green in colour and have a fresh, grassy smell. It will have delicate vegetal, earthy and nutty flavours. Flavours will vary based on whether the green tea is prepared by pan frying or by steaming. It is an instantly recognizable taste.
When it comes to brewing green tea leaves, the key to a delicious cup of green tea is to brew it at a temperature that won't cause bitterness. Never use boiling water as it might damage the leaves. Instead, bring your water to a maximum of 180 degrees and steep the tea for 3 minutes. Green tea is best consumed within 6 months.
Black teas are bolder and more robust in flavor than green tea. It has a reddish hue, which has earned black tea the name of "red tea" in some areas of the world like China. It will have a slightly acidic, caramel, malty and earthy taste. The smell of black tea can be described as warm, smoky, flowery and peppery.
Unlike green tea, when it comes to black teas you'll want to boil your water to achieve the perfect cup. Pour your boiling water over the black tea leaves and brew for 5 minutes. In the west, sugar and/or milk is often added to black tea to sweeten it up. Black tea is best consumed within 2-3 years.
Black and green tea blends consist of pure black or green tea mixed with other spices or edible flowers, grasses or barks. Black tea tends to be more popular as a base for blends than green tea.
Sometimes teas are named after the areas they are from and should not be confused for blends. This includes pure tea varieties like Assam black teas, Japanese green tea like Sencha or Chinese green teas.
Popular black tea blends include earl grey, English breakfast, Indian black teas such as chai masala, and more. Popular green tea blends include lemongrass green tea or Genmaicha. For the perfect cup of Clearview Tea, we include exact brewing instructions with each tea blend. These instructions have been crafted by a tea sommelier.
Frequently Asked Questions About Green and Black Tea
We answer more of your most pressing questions about green and black tea below.
Is it OK to drink black tea every day?
Yes absolutely, you can drink black tea every day. If you are sensitive to caffeine then limit your intake of black tea towards the end of the day or switch to a blend with less caffeine.
Which tea has the most health benefits?
Green tea is often touted as the tea with the most health benefits. In some cases, it is seen as more beneficial than black tea because it is less processed. However, they are both beneficial to drink.
Which tea is lowest in caffeine?
White tea has the lowest amount of caffeine at 15 to 30 milligrams per eight source serving. This is because there are minimal steps involved in the production process. The next tea, with the lowest level of caffeine, is green tea, oolong tea and then black tea.
If you want to indulge in a tea with no caffeine content then consider herbal teas. Popular herbal blends include camomile, peppermint and ginger teas.
Which is the most popular type of tea in the world?
Black tea is the most popular tea in the world. Different flavours of black tea blends are used in cultures all around the world such as chai in Indian and English breakfast or earl grey in the UK.
Which countries produce the most black and green tea?
India and China are the largest producers of tea in the world. However, as big tea drinkers themselves, the majority of the tea they produce is used domestically. Other big producers of tea include Sri Lanka which is known for its Ceylon tea, Japan which is known for Matcha and Taiwan which is known for producing Oolong tea.
If you are anything like us your day is not complete without a cup of tea. As avid tea drinkers, we want to share the ritual, health benefits and rich traditions surrounding tea. If you drink tea, you will likely already have some black or green teas in your cabinet but it never hurts to learn more about these tea leaves and how they can enrich your life. The feel-good properties and antioxidant effects will leave you with lasting calm throughout your day.At Clearview Tea, we offer a wide variety of black and green tea as well as unique loose leaf blends. Come visit us or shop online to bring quality tea home with you. We hope our customers will come together around the kettle, enjoy a cup of tea and take pleasure in a quiet moment of reflection.