Tea is by far the most popular hot beverage in the world. After water, it is the most consumed drink and is presently consumed by 2 billion people all around the world. Commonly called “chai”, almost 88% of households in India consume tea in one form or another.
Tea is a natural product coming from the plant Camellia sinensis. The leaves of this plant are plucked, dried, processed and even flavoured to make a tea of various colours, kinds and flavours like black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tree etc. The difference between these tea types differ lies in the method of its processing and subsequently in nutrients and added flavours.
Black Tea vs Green Tea
The difference between black tea and green tea is in its processing method. Black tea is made from leaves that are processed by fermenting it that allows it to get oxidized giving it the characteristics of dark colour, whereas green tea is made from leaves that are not processed or partially processed without letting it get oxidized, thus letting the colour remain lighter.
Black Tea is produced from the leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis. The leaves of this plant are plucked, processed and dried and packed to form the commercially sold tea leaves that are used to brew the aromatic hot or cold beverage tea. The beverage is dark brown to almost black.
Green Tea is produced from the leaves of the same evergreen shrub, Camellia sinensis. The leaves of this plant are plucked and simply dried and packed to form the commercially sold tea leaves. Once brewed, it forms a light greenish-brown coloured beverage that can be consumed in a variety of ways.
Comparison Table Between Black Tea and Green Tea
|Parameters of Comparison||Black Tea||Tea|
|Color of beverage||Once boiled in water, it stains the liquid with a dark brown or black colour.||Once boiled in water, it gives the water a greenish colour.|
|Processing Method||Once plucked, the leaves undergo the following process Hand or machine rolling Fermentation by exposure to air to trigger oxidation until dark brown and aromatic. Dried until crisp and aromatic||Once plucked, the leaves are simply rolled and dried. The fermentation is left out to prevent the oxidation process.|
|Antioxidants||Since the leaves are oxidized, the antioxidant is low in the quantity of EGCG, a powerful antioxidant.||Green tea leaves are rich in the powerful antioxidant the EGCG|
|Caffeine Content||Black tea has a higher caffeine content||Green tea has a comparatively lower caffeine content.|
|Other nutrients||Black tea has a unique polyphenol theaflavin that acts as an antioxidant.||Green also has some other polyphenols like catechin and gallic acid.|
|Effect on Brain||It contains a comparatively smaller amount of amino acid L-theanine that increases brain alertness and focus.||Contains a comparatively larger quantity of L-theanine boosting the brain.|
|Effect on Weight Loss||Black tea has less effect on weight loss.||The caffeine and catechin content of green tea aid in faster weight loss.|
|Effect on Cancer||Since it is low on antioxidants, it has less effect on cancer cells.||Since it is high in antioxidants, it is highly effective against cancer cells.|
What is Black Tea?
Black tea is the most popular tea type consumed. Its leaves come from the plant Camellia sinensis. These leaves are either hand or machine picked. They are then rolled and set aside for fermentation in the open air for oxidation that turns the leaves brown and gives it the characteristic aroma and flavour. They are then dried, packed and sold.
Black tea is high in caffeine content, and this effectively energizes the mind and helps the brain to get alert and focused. It has theaflavins that act as an antioxidant and calms the mind. It also has the amino acid L-theanine which affects brains receptivity. It is acidic in nature. Studies have also shown that it helps boost the functions of the blood vessels. They also have the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) but in a reduced amount as it gets oxidized during the processing of the leaves.
Black tea can be consumed by boiling the leaves in water for a minute or two. Additional flavouring is also added in these leaves like ginger, cardamom etc. This can also be cooled down and consumed as a cold beverage. Some of the most popular black tea varieties are Darjeeling Tea, Assam Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Lapsang souchong, English breakfast, etc.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is a health beneficial beverage whose leaves are obtained from the plant Camellia sinensis. These leaves and plucked and dried to form the commercially available product. The lack of processing or fermentation of these leaves lets the green colour of the leaf stay while drying it brings out aroma. It may or may not be flavoured.
Green is correctly brewed by soaking the leaves in warm water as boiling the leaves like black tea might destroy its antioxidant properties. It is considered to be a beneficial drink due to its high quantity of antioxidant EGCG. This chemical boosts the brain and nervous system, improves and helps in metabolism, triggering fat loss and also fights against cancer and inflammation.
It has a lower caffeine content and hence is an alternative if you are looking for a less startling drink. It also has other substances like catechins that aid in all the above-mentioned functions. Green was initially a prescribed drug for genital warts as it is also antimicrobial.
The famous varieties of green tea are Macha, Sencha, Gyokoru, Longjing, Gunpowder etc.
Main Differences Between Black Tea and Green Tea
- Black tea is dark brown to black once brewed, while green tea is green to light greenish-brown.
- Black tea is a completely processed product. The leaves are fermented and oxidized, while green tea leaves are prevented from reacting with the air. This prevents oxidation and keeps its antioxidants intact.
- Black tea is rich in caffeine, while green tea has lower caffeine content.
- Black tea has lower levels of antioxidants like EGCG in comparison to green tea, which has an abundance of it.
- Black tea exclusively has the flavonoid theaflavin (about 8%), while it is completely absent in green tea.
- Black tea has lower health benefits than green tea due to its higher caffeine and lower quantity of antioxidant content in comparison to green tea.
- Black tea is more widely consumed than green tea. It is also prepared with milk, while green tea is consumed as it is.
As it is clear, both black and green tea are products of the same plant and has similar health benefits. The only difference lies in the fact of they are processed or not. Processing takes away the anti-oxidative power of the beverage while increasing its caffeine content. This factor reduces its health benefits. Green is also exclusively known to be anticancer and antimicrobial. Comparing both types of tea, green tea is the healthier tea while black tea is the energizing tea.
Green tea is recommended to people with diabetes, overweight, obesity, heart problems, microbial infections, cancer, or even normal people looking for a healthier alternative.