Black and green tea both come from the same plant—Camellia sinensis—which is cultivated in many parts of the world. The difference between black and green tea lies in how the tea is processed after the leaves have been picked. Let us take a more detailed look at the differences between green tea and black tea. Which type of tea is healthier?
After the tea leaves are picked off the plant, black tea is made by oxidising the leaves. The leaves are dried, either in the sun or using some type of machinery. As the leaves are drying, the oxidation process turns the leaves a dark colour, quite similar to when fruits oxidise and turn dark when they’re left out for some time. The darkening process of black tea gives it its distinctly bolder flavour and aroma. Sometimes, black tea can also taste sweeter or fruitier as compared to green tea.
The leaves for making green tea are also dried after harvest, but the big difference here is that they do not undergo this same oxidation process. Instead, green tea leaves are normally heated with steam, and in some cases—like when making tea Chinese style—they are heated in pans. This stops the oxidation process and keeps the leaves at their natural green colour. As a result, the tea will retain a “fresher” flavour as compared to black tea.
When it comes to tea, know that both black and green tea are rich in antioxidants. These valuable compounds can prevent cells from becoming damaged by free radicals and help in the prevention of many diseases. For some time, health and nutrition experts thought that green tea was a lot healthier than black tea. Recently, however, it was found that black tea is also rich in antioxidants. While both types of tea have many healthful benefits, there is some evidence to suggest that green tea is more effective in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
The reason that green tea contains a larger amount of beneficial compounds is the more gentle way in which it is processed. Bypassing the oxidation process allows for more natural compounds to be preserved. Black tea also contains these compounds, just not as many as green tea.
Along with a good amount of antioxidants, black tea is especially rich in tannins, which are organic substances that are beneficial for a healthy heart and digestive tract. Since a cup of black tea is often stronger than green tea, it can also serve as a mild stimulant to boost the metabolism and support the kidneys, without putting strain on the body. Black tea also supports the body’s natural cleansing abilities.
Green tea and black tea can both vary when it comes to their caffeine content. While many types of green teas have less caffeine than their bolder black counterparts, this isn’t always the case. How much caffeine a type of tea contains does not just depend on the particular type of tea, but also on how the tea is processed and how it is brewed. A typical amount of caffeine per cup of tea can range from 20mg to 60mg per cup, compared to about 100mg that is normally found in a cup of coffee.
For a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy both black tea and green tea. Each type provides its own advantages, from helping to support weight loss and digestion to boosting the body’s natural defences. Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal taste!