Since its first discovery in Ancient China, tea has been a beverage that’s been enjoyed across the world for centuries. Nowadays, there are several varieties that are commonly found on the market: green tea, black tea, white tea, and herbal tea. Today, we’re taking a look the two of the most popular teas, green tea and black tea to see how they’re different. We’ll also tell you when to enjoy them to reap the best benefits!
Even though green tea and black tea both look very different, and taste different too, they share the exact same source: the camellia sinensis, or the tea plant. Up until the time the leaves are harvested and processed, there isn’t a huge difference between green and black tea. That being said, the tea plant’s growing conditions can be adjusted to influence the taste of the end result.
What gives green tea its signature colour is actually a crucial process that occurs almost immediately after the leaves are harvested. This process is steaming, which stops the tea leaves from oxidizing. Unoxidized green tea leaves retain their green colour, and have a slightly more grassy taste compared to black tea. The process of making the tea leaves into tea (drying and rolling) only starts after they have been steamed.
Black tea on the other hand, is blown with air after harvest in order to whither them, before they’re put through a drying and rolling process. Throughout these processes, the tea leaves oxidize and turn gradually darker in colour. This is known as “fermenting”, but despite its name, no fermenting actually takes place. The amount of oxidation actually changes the taste of tea, which is why green and black tea both taste so different!
Many may already know of the health benefits of both green and black tea. Just to name an example, green tea is chock full of catechin, a powerful antioxidant that’s great for maintaining good health, while black tea is rich in tannin, a substance that aids digestion. So which is better, and when should you drink tea?
Black tea contains a healthy amount of caffeine (about 50-90mg), which can help give you that energy boost without the coffee jitters. Additionally, you may also enjoy it with a meal, as high levels of tannin found in black tea can help soothe and move your digestive system along. However, due to its higher caffeine content, those who are sensitive to caffeine may want to steer clear of black tea later in the day.
When compared to black tea, green tea has a lower caffeine content (30-50mg) and makes a suitable late afternoon drink. You’ll also get to enjoy all the benefits of the antioxidant known as catechin, which helps you and your body stay and feel healthy, just by relaxing and enjoying a small cup of green tea. Green tea also contains tannins, which will aid digestion, and because it’s lower in caffeine, sipping it after dinner isn’t likely to keep you up at night.
While we can see, and taste the difference between green and black tea, there’s no doubt that they’re both great in their own way. So don’t be afraid to incorporate more tea into your day!