What's the Difference Between Black & Green Tea? And What Are the Health Benefits?
Author: Sandy Abram Date Posted:16 January 2018
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Do you love tea and found yourself staring into your cup, wondering where did you come from and why do you taste so good? Find out the difference between your black, green and white teas and herbal infusions and why tea is just so good for you.
I love nothing more than a cup of tea. When I first wake up, before I go to bed and at any given time in between. Tea is so versatile, I usually have an energy boosting Hampstead English Breakfast tea (or two) when I wake up, a herbal infusion (or two) throughout the day and a naturally caffeine-free sleepy tea like Lavender Valerian last thing at night.
If you’re like me and love tea too, here’s a little background on where your tea comes from and just why it is so good for you.
Where does Tea come from?
All teas, with the exception of herbal infusions and fruit teas, come from the same two tea plants - Camellia sinensis sinensis and Camellia sinensis assamica. Teas from China, Japan and Darjeeling in West Bengal generally originate from the Camellia sinensis sinensis plant and teas from the warmer climes of North East India from the Camellia sinensis assamica plant.
The Difference Between Green Tea and Black Tea
If you’ve tasted both green and black teas, then you’ll know there’s a distinct difference between them, and not just in colour. All tea leaves are harvested (or ‘plucked’ as it’s officially known) and withered, and then it’s at this stage that green and black tea production starts to differ. Green tea is produced by either steaming or pan-frying the withered leaves before drying. This prevents the leaves from oxidating, or fermenting, meaning that they keep their fresh, green colour and delicate aroma and flavour.
For black tea, withered tea leaves are instead crushed, torn or rolled in order for them to oxidise before they’re dried. This intricate and exact fermentation process allows the leaves to darken, giving an eventual stronger aroma and flavour when they’re brewed.
If you’ve ever wondered what oolong tea is, it’s somewhere in the middle of green and black tea! Oolong tea has a reddish colour and floral flavour.
And what about white tea? Well, whereas green, black and oolong teas are produced from the leaves of the tea plants, white tea is produced using the delicate silvery hairs of the immature buds. These hairs appear before the bud has opened to form the tea leaf. All that’s required to make white tea is for the beautifully hairy buds to be plucked and then immediately withered and dried. White tea has a pale-yellow colour when it’s brewed, and very delicate flavour.
Either way, they’re all delicious, and nutritious…
The Health Benefits of Tea
Because it’s not just about the delicious taste and the comforting cuddle that a cuppa gives us. Tea is incredibly good for us. It’s packed with healthy, naturally occurring plant chemicals called polyphenols. These polyphenols have strong antioxidant properties which help to ‘mop up’ free radicals.
Free radicals are nasty little chemicals that our body naturally produces as by-products of normal bodily functions such as digestion and respiration. We’re also exposed to free radicals from pollution, second hand cigarette smoke (ugh!) and fried foods.
The human body has developed a clever (and complex) mechanism for eliminating free radicals by using antioxidants, which we get from food, so it’s little wonder tea makes us feel so good. Plus, ea is good for the soul too! Anyone that has sat down with someone they love and shared a good story or cry over a cup of tea, knows exactly what I mean.
Green and white teas are higher in antioxidants than black teas, but that’s not to say black teas don’t have health properties. Drinking any tea is a great way of introducing more antioxidants to your diet. Antioxidants help protect us from heart disease and cancers, among many other diseases. Green tea is also even linked with weight loss!
Herbal teas are infusions of herbs, fruits and other tasty good things. They’re naturally caffeine free and full of natural and organic ingredients. They’re the perfect drink for keeping hydrated throughout the day, and especially good if you’re not keen on drinking plain water.
I personally love Hampstead’s Tea Rosehip Hibiscus tea served cold and over ice - as do my kids. The rich garnet red color is so jewel like and precious, they get to enjoy the bright colors without any nasty numbers or artificial flavours.
Our Favourite Teas Are Always Organic & Fairly Traded
All the teas on Wholesome Hub are of course, all organic and fairly traded which is why we've carefully chosen Hampstead Tea and Love Tea as our go to tea brands. They are grown with respect for the environment and for the people that lovingly farm and harvest them. Plus, what you spray on your tea leaves stays on your tea leaves so, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of drinking pesticides and chemicals with my tea in the morning.
We also believe in supporting ethical brands who aren't owned by multinational companies so sorry (but not sorry), Pukka, you're not for us anymore!
There are some wonderful teas and brands around so whatever you fancy, and whatever time of the day it is, pop the kettle on and enjoy a cuppa! Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.