Black vs Green Tea – Know the Difference

If you are black tea lover, many a time you might have asked this to yourself – black vs green tea? Whenever we search for information on the benefits of tea, most of the time we get results that tells us more about the benefits of green tea. black vs green tea - a cup of back tea with mint

Are we discriminating against black tea?

Perhaps not. At least not knowingly. This is probably because majority of the studies on tea benefits are done with green tea samples. The overwhelming importance on green tea gives us an impression that green tea is the only tea that can offer us the maximum benefits. The exclusion of other tea varieties like black tea from such studies is a mere coincidence. There is nothing intentional in it.  Neither it has anything to do with the fact that black tea is good for us or not. Some of the reasons why we subconsciously give green tea a more favorable treatment are discussed below.

1. Doing study with each variety is not possible

There are many varieties of tea. It is simply not possible to conduct studies with each of the varieties to verify their individual benefits. This will cost much more time and money. We see that green tea is the default choice for most of the studies. For example, we know about the positive result we got from study conducted with green tea on fighting cancer. We could have achieved the same positive result had we done the study with black tea. Thus many studies conducted in Europe conclude that black tea is as beneficial as its green sibling! Researchers in Taiwan have confirmed that the oolong variety of tea also has the same benefits as green tea.black vs green tea - girl enjoying a cup of tea

2. Green tea is more reminiscent of green tea leaves

The medicinal value of the tea plant was discovered five thousand years’ ago. Then it was the fresh green tea leaf that man used, not any of the processed tea variety we see today. As green tea represents the green leaves more efficiently, it became the natural representative of tea. This contributed to the idea that green tea is the pristine and most beneficial variety among all. The other variants in the tea family came into being much later.

3. Possibility of business consideration

Some business considerations may also exist behind the prime branding of green tea. The price of green tea is approximately two to four times more than the price of standard black tea. However the costs of production for both are almost same. Hence more sale of green tea means more profit to the producer.

4. China factor

China, one of the oldest civilization in the world has a tea tradition that is five thousand years’ old. Here tea is considered as one of the seven basic necessities of life. It is the top producer of tea in the world. Majority of Chinese production is green tea. China caters to 80% of world’s total green tea needs. As a result, Chinese influence on how the world view tea always matters. As green tea is the preferred variety of tea in China, obviously it has the edge over other varieties. Present day China is the most influential economic power of the world. So, there is nothing discriminatory if China supports promotion of green tea.

Black vs green tea – think twice before you rate black tea below green!

Whatever may be reasons behind the priority status we offer to green tea, we should know the true facts – is anyone between the two is better than the other?. As black tea is more widely used all over the world, hence it has become even more important.

black-tea-vs-green-tea-black-leafWhy black tea is as good as green tea, if not better?

You can find below some facts that are now available from research reports on tea as a whole. This may help project a clearer picture on the beneficial effects of both green and black tea.

1. Camellia sinensis – mother of  all teas

The plant required for the production of tea is the same i.e. Camellia sinensis. Thus the output products contain more or less the same goodness and nutrients available in the plant, irrespective of the process undergone at the time of production. However chemical composition of green tea is more similar to that of fresh tea leaves as it passes through less processing compared to black tea.

2. Different manufacturing process

The black tea manufacturing process involves additional processes of withering, a cycle of crushing-tearing-curling (CTC) and oxidation (allowed to undergo chemical reactions caused by exposure to oxygen). As a result of this some difference in the chemical composition and to some extent difference in health benefits of green and black tea is observed.black-tea-vs-green-tea-green-leaf

3. Green tea has more EGCG

EGCG (epi-gallacto-catechin-gallate) antioxidant found in tea is highly effective in fighting cancer as well as cardiovascular complexities. This antioxidant is found in more quantity in green tea compared to black tea. The latter looses a part of EGCG during the oxidation process.

4. Black tea has TF & TR

The distinctive color and flavor of black tea comes from compounds produced during the process of oxidation viz. theaflavins and thearubigens. These two in particular and few other polyphenols present in black tea brings in a whole plethora of health benefits to the cup. Some of the remarkable health benefits of drinking black tea are that it lowers the risks of many common yet deadly diseases like heart attack, hypertension, diabetes, various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, gastric ulcer and so on.black vs green tea - an animated picture

5. The comparison table

The table below tells about the different flavonoid contents available in black and green tea brew:

Polyphenol  type            Black tea      Green tea

Catechins                             8                    70

Thearubigins                      71                     0

Theaflavins                         12                     0

Flavonols                            10                    10

black vs green tea-liquor of green tea in two cupsThe above table shows both green and black teas contain almost similar amount of flavonoids. However due to the structural differences among the flavonoids, there remains some minor differences between the output teas also. But the difference is very much insignificant. Hence there is nothing black with the black tea or any other variety of tea for that matter. Now you can go with your preferred cup without any hesitation as per your taste. This humble herbal drink has tons of goodness. Don’t worry, it won’t loss its virtue if you take it with a little bit of sugar or a few spoonful of creamy milk. Enjoy tea the way you prefer and just say “let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea” like the great Fyodor Dostoyevsky!