Ah the age old battle between black tea vs green tea. Both of these teas are popular, but only one can win when it comes to flavor and health benefits. In this article, we are going to compare green tea vs black tea to see which one comes out on top.
We’ll be looking at what is the difference between green tea and black tea, comparing the caffeine in green tea vs black tea and finally seeing is green tea healthier than black tea once and for all.
Let’s get brewing!
Black tea vs Green tea Video
Black tea vs Green tea overview
To understand the difference between green and black tea, you have to understand that there are actually 6 different types of teas. White tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea and post fermented tea.
These teas all come from the same plant, but they are processed differently. As a result, the difference between green tea and black tea comes down to not the plant, but the processing. Let’s explore it further!
Difference between green tea and black tea
So what is the difference between green tea and black tea?
As we covered in the previous section, the difference comes down to the processing of the teas, specifically the oxidation.
You see, the main difference between green and black tea is the fact that black tea is oxidized and green tea is unoxidized.
Black tea is used in different drinks such as chai lattes and if you want to learn how that compares to green tea, you can read our article 👉 Chai vs Matcha: Teatime Turf War is Heating Up
What is Oxidation?
To understand the difference between green and black tea, you have to understand what oxidation is. Oxidation is what happens when a plant is exposed to the oxygen in the air and it changes forms.
In the case of green tea vs black tea, the oxidation causes the tea leaf to convert its polyphenols into theaflavins and thearubigans. This causes differences in the color, flavor and health benefits of black tea vs green tea.
Production of green vs black tea
If tea leaves are simply picked and set aside, they will begin to oxidize and take on the characteristics of a black tea. For this reason, if the farmer wants to produce an unoxidized green tea, he will need to deactivate the enzymes that cause oxidation.
This is accomplished by applying intense heat to the tea leaves almost immediately after harvest. This heating is the main difference between green tea and black tea when it comes to the production of the two teas.
Green tea vs black tea appearance
Another striking difference between green and black tea is the color of the two teas. Green tea takes on a color of yellow or green vs black tea which is typically a reddish brown.
Hojicha is a type of Japanese green tea that can’t seem to decide whether its a green tea or black tea. It takes on a reddish brown color, but it is technically a green tea because it’s unoxidized. The reddish color comes from the roasting process, which gives it a warmer flavor profile with notes of coffee and chocolate.
Black tea vs Green tea leaves
You’ll also notice a difference in the leaves of green vs black tea. Black tea leaves are a much darker color, typically ranging from a reddish brown to black. This of course comes from the oxidation, during which the color of the leaf fades from vibrant green tea a dull brown color.
Caffeine in green tea vs black tea
Does green or black tea have more caffeine? One of the big differences between the two teas is the caffeine in green tea vs black tea content.
Which will have more caffeine green tea vs black tea? Let’s find out in the next segment!
Black tea vs green tea caffeine content
When you compare green vs black tea caffeine, you’ll see that an average cup of black tea will have 47mg of caffeine per cup. A premium Japanese green tea like gyokuro can have 120-140mg of caffeine per cup.
So why is there such a striking difference when it comes to the caffeine in green tea vs black tea? Let’s find out.
Why does green tea have more caffeine than black tea
The reason there is more green tea caffeine vs black tea caffeine has to do with picking, shading and processing.
Unlike black tea, high caffeine Japanese green teas like gyokuro are shaded before the harvest which boosts the levels of caffeine. Also, the tea is made using only the top 3 sprouts of the tea plant, which boosts the caffeine even further.
While not all Japanese green teas will have as high of a caffeine content as gyokuro, quite a few of them are shaded and also made from these younger leaves. Sencha, a more common Japanese green tea, will have 60mg of caffeine per serving, for example.
Does green tea or black tea have more caffeine depending on how you prepare it?
One advantage of black tea vs green caffeine is that black tea is often brewed with hotter water. Hot water extracts more bitterness in a green tea, but it can also extract more caffeine.
Black tea, on the other hand, doesn’t get quite as bitter when you boil it. So this may lead to an upset in the caffeine green vs black tea battle. If you boil your green tea, it will have more caffeine, but it will also be very bitter.
Caffeine in green tea vs black tea vs coffee
When we compare the caffeine in green tea vs black tea vs coffee, only green tea even comes close to matching the cup of joe. A cup of coffee can have between 80-100mg of caffeine, which is about double that of black tea.
What makes green tea vs black tea caffeine different is that green tea can actually have more caffeine than coffee if you choose the right kind. So what has more caffeine green tea or black tea or coffee? The answer is still green tea!
If you want to learn more about the caffeine levels in different types of tea, you can read this here 👉 Does Green Tea Have Caffeine? We Reveal the Truth
Is green tea healthier than black tea
Now the question on everyone's mind, is green tea healthier than black tea? Green tea is generally considered to be healthier than black tea and it comes down to a few different factors.
Picking of black tea vs green tea
The question of is green tea or black tea better for you comes down to the picking of the tea. Black tea is often (although not always) made from the older leaves of the tea plant and Japanese green teas like sencha, gyokuro and matcha are made from the younger tea leaves.
The younger leaves of the tea plant are higher in nutrients, which is why green teas get the reputation for being nutritional powerhouses. So is black tea or green tea better for you? It would appear green tea has a slight edge.
Antioxidants in green tea vs black tea
During the oxidation process, the polyphenols are converted into theaflavins and thearubigans. This can produce a delicious flavor, but the polyphenols are actually antioxidants.
For this reason, green teas will maintain higher levels of antioxidants compared to their oxidized counterparts. So is green tea better than black tea? From an antioxidant standpoint it would appear so!
Benefits of black tea vs green tea
So when it comes to the question of is green tea or black tea better for you, green tea appears to have one, but what are the some of the benefits of black tea?
Black tea is associated with improved heart health due to its high content of flavonoids, particularly theaflavins and thearubigins, which may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Green tea also supports heart health, but the specific compounds in black tea may provide additional cardiovascular benefits.
Is green tea better than black tea besides health?
So now that we’ve covered is black tea or green tea better for you, let’s talk about is green tea better than black tea besides health.
One advantage of green tea vs black tea is that green tea works great as a cold brew. You can simply infuse the tea leaves in cold or room temperature water for 3-8 hours and strain out the leaves.
You’ll find that the cold water releases more of the sweet and fruity components of the leaves and less of the bitterness. This method can also work with black tea, but not nearly as well.
If you want a complete guide on how to cold brew green tea, you can find it here 👉How to Cold Brew Sencha Tea Step by Step
Fresh Vibrant Flavor
One final advantage of green tea vs black tea is the flavor profile of green tea. During the steaming process, the farmer is able to lock in a lot of the natural fresh vegetable flavors of the leaf.
This creates a tea experience unlike any other, and its another great benefit of drinking green tea.
Which should you choose, green tea or black tea
Whether you choose green tea or black tea, you can still enjoy a delicious flavor and plenty of health benefits, but which one is better, green tea or black tea?
We find that green tea is a great one to start with, and here is a list of our best green teas for beginners:
Hojicha - The Green Tea That Looks Like Black Tea
This is the tea we mentioned before that looks like a black tea, but it’s actually a type of green tea. After the leaves are picked, they are roasted over a high heat in order to take on a darker taste profile of coffee, caramel or chocolate.
This is a perfect cozy weather tea, one that you can curl up with and sip while you read a good book. You’ll love it!
If you want to become an expert on hojicha tea, you can read this guide here 👉 Everything You Need to Know About Hojicha
Genmaicha - The Famous Popcorn Tea
Genmaicha is made by mixing toasted rice with green tea leaves. This began as a way to conserve tea leaves during times of famine, but soon people became obsessed with the warm and nutty flavor profile.
Most people like this tea the first time they drink it. It has a nice cereal taste, with notes of caramel and popcorn. If you want to learn more about genmaicha, you can read this article here 👉 Essential Genmaicha Guide by Japanese Tea Experts
Karigane - A Sweet and Mild Indulgence
It takes awhile to work up to the intense flavors of green tea, so why not give this one a try? Karigane is made from the stems and leaves of shaded tea plants. The stems give the tea a milder taste profile and a lower caffeine content, making it very drinkable.
The shading process makes the tea sweeter, with notes of cantaloupe melon and cucumber. This tea also works great as a cold brew!
Black tea vs green tea - The Final Verdict
So who won the battle of black tea vs green tea? Now that we have thoroughly investigated what is the difference between green tea and black tea, I think it is time to crown a champion.
Overall, green tea seems to be a better option than black tea. When we compare green tea vs black tea caffeine, green tea comes out on top. When we look at is green tea healthier than black tea, green tea also seems to win.
Finally, there are advantages to green tea vs black tea when it comes to the versatility and flavor and for that reason we have to say that green tea is the winner of this contest.