Green or Black Tea?
What is the difference between green and black tea? To begin with, nothing at all, both come from the same tea bush. However it is how the tea leaf is then processed that creates the difference.
After plucking and undergoing partial withering, green tea is heated almost immediately at about 200 degrees Celsius to prevent fermentation. The tea is then rolled to give it shape before being heated again. In contrast, black tea is processed in a different order: it is withered then rolled before any heating takes place. The tea is then left to ferment for some time when it takes on the brown/black colour and develops its flavour before being heated again to stop the process.
It is therefore the fermentation reaction that causes the key differences between the two types of tea. Both types of tea contain high levels of antioxidant polyphenols (catechins, flavonols, theaflavins and thearubigins). One type of catechin, called EGCG, is found in the highest concentration in green tea and it’s the most active and well researched of all green tea catechins.
Due to the their sensitivity to oxidation, catechins are converted during the process of making black tea, leaving researchers thinking that black tea did not reap as many health benefits as its lighter toned counterpart. However, recent research has revealed that black tea, like green tea,delivers many health benefits. This time it is the theaflavins and thearubigens generated during the process of making black tea which give the tea a boost and provide it with its dark colour and distinct taste.
Therefore both black and green tea not only have their own distinctive colours, flavours and aromas but also their own specific benefits. One thing to remember when it comes to the claimed benefits of different kinds of tea is to know that tea research itself is still in the early stages. However, there are plenty of studies that are based on observational research pointing toward the relationship between tea consumption and health.
For more information regarding the studies into the health benefits of teas, visit www.tea.co.uk/tea-4-health.