The Big Difference Between Green Tea And Black Tea

After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world (via ShareCare). There are over 1,500 tea varieties to choose from — but if you live in the United States, you likely have enjoyed more common teas like black tea or green tea. If you are a new tea drinker, you may be wondering what the difference is between green tea and black tea. The names suggest the main difference might be color — but there is actually another big distinction between these caffeinated beverages.

Both green and black tea come from the same plant, the leaves of the camellia sinensis (via The Spruce Eats). The real difference is the way they are produced. Black tea is made through a fermentation process that prompts oxidation, giving it a darker color and a distinct flavor. In contrast, green tea does not go through a fermentation process. The leaves for green tea wither slightly and are then heated by pan, oven, or steamed to prevent that oxidation. This allows green tea leaves to keep their natural color, and lends a lighter taste than black tea (via PureLeaf).

Health benefits of black tea and green tea

Because of the difference in process, black tea and green tea have unique health properties, as well as caffeine levels. In the grocery store, you have probably seen black teas like Earl Grey or English Breakfast. These typically contain more caffeine than green tea, and they also contain antioxidants and flavonoids that reduce inflammation and boost heart health, according to the Spruce Eats

Green tea also contains antioxidants like EGCG, which has been used over the years for medicinal treatments. Additionally, green tea is touted for its fat-burning benefits, as well as physical health perks by acting as an immune system booster against bacteria and illnesses like the flu.

So which option is your "cup of tea?" It depends on what you are seeking in your drink. Research has shown that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea (via Healthline), so that may be your choice if looking solely at the health profile. However, black tea is your best bet if you're looking for the biggest caffeine boost.