Green tea and black tea are both derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but they undergo different processing methods, resulting in distinct flavors, aromas, and health benefits.
Difference in processing
Green tea is made from freshly picked leaves that are immediately steamed or pan-fried to stop the oxidation process.
This helps to preserve the natural antioxidants and other beneficial compounds found in the leaves. The leaves are then rolled and dried, resulting in a tea that is light in color, delicate in flavor, and high in antioxidants.
Black tea, on the other hand, is made from fully oxidized tea leaves. After the leaves are picked, they are left to wither for several hours, then rolled and crushed to release the enzymes that cause oxidation.
The leaves are then left to oxidize for several hours before being fired to halt the process. The resulting tea is darker in color and has a bolder, richer flavor than green tea.
Differences in composition
The differences between green and black tea are not limited to taste and appearance.
Green tea has been shown to contain higher levels of antioxidants, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to a range of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved heart health, and lower risk of certain types of cancer.
Black tea, on the other hand, contains more caffeine than green tea and has been linked to improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of stroke.
The caffeine in green tea is thought to be released more slowly, resulting in a milder, more sustained energy boost. This is because green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and help reduce anxiety and stress.
Differences in preparation
A third key difference between green tea and black tea is their preparation. Green tea is typically brewed with water that has been heated to a lower temperature than black tea, usually around 175-180°F (80-82°C).
This helps to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas of the tea. Black tea, on the other hand, is usually brewed with water that has been heated to boiling point, around 212°F (100°C), to extract its full-bodied flavour.