Black Tea vs Green Tea Difference: Taste, Caffeine, Weight Loss
Traditionally black tea has always been the most popular tea beverage outside of China.
After the discovery of black tea, it was the Portuguese who first introduced black tea in Europe. The royals loved it and soon it was also discovered by the masses. Demand for the beverage surged even more in popularity after the tea bag was invented by Thomas Sullivan in 1908. This was one of the most significant commercial discoveries, in the history of tea.
However since 2010, the demand for green tea increase gradually increased until it stabilized in 2017. Today, green tea is offered now offered in tea bags, in loose leaf tea (blends), in powdered form (matcha), and it’s also used to many cosmetics and supermarket products.
For the tea drinker, there’s still a lot of confusion regarding the difference between black tea versus green tea. Unfortunately, there’s no straight, quick answer because it really depends on what aspect you’re looking for. Black tea and green tea differ in many ways. The most obvious one is the taste, but they’re also different when you compare caffeine levels, origin, production methods, and health benefits. Luckily, we’re going to discuss every aspect in detail! So hold tight.
The Tea Plant: Camellia Sinenses
Every tea is made from leaves harvested from the Camellia Sinenses tea plant. So is there such a thing as the ‘black tea plant’ or the ‘green tea plant’? Well the answer is yes and no. There are many cultivars of the tea plant, and some are more suitable for green tea, while others are more suitable for black tea. Thus, the use of plants has an influence on the taste of tea.
Black tea versus green tea: Processing/Production method
Processing steps are always significant. As you read above, all teas are made from specific cultivars of the Camellia Sinenses tea plant. So what really makes a black tea a black tea and a green tea a green tea is the way the tea is processed.
Green tea production follows the most basic production steps, which are: picking, drying (in the shadow), and pan-frying. The final pan-frying step quickly removes all the water content from the tea, so that the leaves stay vibrant and green. In other words, there’s very little oxidation happening with the leaves.
On the other hand, black tea is a fully oxidized tea. During the processing, the leaves are more intensively withered, rolled and oxidized and dried. Thus, resulting in a darker color and lower amount of water content in the final tea product.
Storage of black tea versus green tea
The difference in oxidation level of both teas matters when it comes to storage. As green teas are fresher and still hold a significant amount of water content, they may continue to oxidize if it’s exposed to air, light and humidity. This therefore recommend to store fresh green teas sealed in the freezer, if you do not plan to consume it in the next 6 months. Otherwise, storage in airtight jars inside a cabinet would work.
Black tea on the other hand, don’t easily go stale. The leaves are very dry and don’t easily loose flavor. If you store them in a jar at room temperature inside a cabinet, their taste stay fresh for at least 1 year.
Taste of black tea versus green tea wiki
As said previously, the flavor of both types of teas are highly influenced by the way they’re processed. Fully oxidized black teas have notes of honey, caramel and ripe fruits. They may also be smoky, though a strong smoky taste of campfire indicates bad quality black tea.
Green teas on the other hand are characterized by very light flavors. Very subtle green teas have flavors of green beans or citrus fruits, while stronger green teas are more toasty/nutty or sometimes very grassy and vegetal. Low quality green teas are often stronger and more bitter.
Caffeine is always a difficult topic as it’s influenced by so many factors than just the type of tea. We therefore recommend you to visit our article that is focused on this topic: Tea Caffeine Guide.
Origin of black versus green tea
At last, tea regions are often specialized in certain types of teas. For example in China, black teas are many produced in Fujian (e.g. Lapsang Souchong and Jinjunmei) and Yunnan province (e.g. Yunnan Gold, Dian Hong). Green teas, on the other hand, are mainly produced in Anhui (e.g. Huangshan Maofeng) and Sichuan (e.g. Zhu Ye Qing) province.
Green tea versus black tea benefits
Given the freshness of green tea, you really don’t have to be a scientist that all the nutritions are better preserved relative to black tea. Green tea is richer in anti-oxidants and polyphenols. There’s more and more evidence that tea may fight free radicals and fight aging as well as reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Yep, tea is a super food, and especially green tea has more of such benefits. Note, we’re here referring to fresh loose leaf green tea, and not stale tea bags. Crush green tea in tea bags have similar benefits, but to a much lesser extend. On the other hand, fresh green teas consisting of many anti-oxidant rich buds are the healthiest.
Another type of tea which is very anti-oxidant rich is white tea. If you're interested in the difference you may read this article: White tea versus green tea.
But there’s a catch. You can’t consume too much green tea for the same reason. Because high quality green teas are so fresh, there rawness can hurt your stomach if you over consume. Black teas, however, are less raw and in fact very soothing for your stomach.
In addition, green teas have strong ‘cooling’ and anti-inflammation properties, which are great if you suffer from acne or if you want to de-stress. This makes them also a great beverage for hot summer seasons (even if you drink it hot). However, if you suffer from cold hands/feet and if you feel you lack energy, green tea should be avoided. Instead, go for a soothing, warming and energizing cup of black tea!
In summary, green teas are generally more healthy, but it should be consumed in moderation. When you feel a diuretic effect of green tea or any stomach pain, it’s better to take a break. If you’re very sensitive stomach it’s better to avoid green tea all together! Go for black, which is less harsh on your stomach, yet still have some of the benefits that green tea can offer!