There must be a good reason why tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. People all over the globe adore tea not because of the taste and energy it brings, but because of the natural health benefits it carries along with it. It is, in fact, a natural remedy for most health-related issues.
Given this fact, though tea leaves are produced from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, they have different variations depending on the oxidation level while processing the tea leaves. Based on these, there are broadly three types of tea – green tea, black tea, and white tea. While green tea leaves are considered the healthiest of the lot, black tea leaves are the most oxidized and contain the most caffeine out of all.
How do you differentiate between these types of teas?
The primary difference lies in the way the tea leaves are processed. This itself changes certain inherent properties, infuses distinctive flavor and provides its own set of advantages. Based on the method of production, you will observe changes in benefits, caffeine content, and taste. Hence, in this write-up, we have decided to highlight the difference between black tea, green tea and white tea, thereby adding to your dose of knowledge and tea collection!
What is black tea: A strong tea of either CTC or orthodox methods of production that presents a high concentration of caffeine.
This tea is called so due to the colour it possesses. It appears dark, with tinges of amber or orange shades. Its level of oxidation gives it the unique color and properties it is known for. Its longer exposure to oxygen results in darker leaves and a deeper flavor profile.
Is Black Tea good for health?
That is of course true. Black tea leaves contain tannins (a type of antioxidant) which has anticancer and carcinogenic properties. However, these tannins are significantly lesser in number, due to the oxidation level of black tea. Another downside is the caffeine content of the tea. It may have side effects such as nervousness, headache, sleep problems, and so on.
Health Benefits of Black Tea:
: Black tea
Decreases risk of chronic disease
Boosts cardiovascular health
Helps in cholesterol, diabetes, and blood sugar
Removes plaque on teeth
Controls weight and obesity
Helps fight against cancer
Caffeine content: A general rule of thumb states that black tea typically possesses 40 – 70mg per oz (eight ounces). This figure can also change with steeping time, origin, the temperature of water, and other such factors.
Process: It has four stages – withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying.
Black tea preparation undergoes a long withering period. The leaves are also fully oxidized before they are dried. Oxygen turns the leaves into a dark color which also changes the flavor profile. That is how its robust and strong flavors are produced.
Taste: A strong and full-bodied taste, accompanied by astringency and briskness.
Green Tea leavesare unprocessed and not oxidized as much as Black Tea. It is particularly known as one of the healthiest forms of tea due to the presence of a huge number of antioxidants.
Advantages of Green Tea:
· Improves cardiovascular health
· Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol
· Prevents the formation of cancer cells
· Helps control weight
· Improves immunity system
· Helps control diabetes
· Helps in skincare
· Helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
What is green tea: A tea that is highly prized due to the nature of its manufacturing and processing. This helps it retain maximum antioxidants and polyphenols, both of which are crucial for maintaining good health.
Caffeine content: It normally has about 30 – 45 mg per oz (eight ounces). This, however, is still subject to various conditions.
Process: It follows three main stages – Pan fry or steaming, rolling/drying, shaping.
Green tea is steamed/baked after a short period of withering to halt the oxidation process. Since they are the least oxidized, they retain the most health benefits and results in lighter and flavor. Unlike Black tea, it is a gentler stimulant and the ideal choice of a breakfast companion.
Taste: It tastes more light and mellow with ‘grassy’ undertones. It also leaves a bitters sweet sensation.
Being minimally processed, it successfully retains a high concentration of antioxidants and catechins that are present in fresh leaves. Its appearance comes from the silver hairs on the buds of the plant, giving it its white appearance. It is recognized as the purest form of tea.
Health Benefits of White Tea:
· Reduces the risk of heart disease
· Helps in weight control
· Helps in oral care
· Prevents cancer
· Fights skin aging
· Prevents Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
· Improves cardiovascular health
· Improves liver health
What is white tea: A delicate tea that offers countless health benefits owing to the nature of its processing. It uses the freshest of leaves and is often seen as priceless due to its traits.
Caffeine: 20 – 30mg per oz (eight ounces) under normal conditions.
Process: Withered, lightly rolled and dried.
Tea leaves are lightly rolled, sometimes by hand, to extract the leaf’s maximum flavor. The buds are withered and air-dried the moment it is harvested. The least amount of processing gives rise to its numerous medicinal benefits.
Taste: A delicate taste profile with a soft finish. Depending on various conditions, it can be fruity or flora in flavour, with sweet notes of honey .These differences become clearer as you begin to see changes in color and taste. The difference in black, green and white tea all depend on the techniques required in its preparation.
What also matters is the correct manner of preparing each type of tea. To enjoy the true taste of a tea, it is necessary to understand how factors such as temperature and steeping time play a part in its formation. Preparing the right tea under the right conditions is no easy task.
Thus, while tea is open to all to enjoy, only a few can appreciate its true quality.