Black Tea vs Green Tea

Cue the Mortal Combat soundtrack, I’ve decided to pit green and black tea against each other. For two teas from the same plant, the debate of which is better for you is surprisingly fierce.

Our robotic referee – Alfred Robbie
the Tea Ball.
(Also used on my hub about teas
for digestivehealth
.)

Black Tea
Sometimes also known as red tea, black tea is actually made out of the same leaf as green and white teas. It’s just left to oxidize for longer before it’s brewed. As a result, it has a stronger, longer lasting taste than less fermented versions.

Because of this property, it was popular early on in trade with the West, because it retained its flavor after reaching its destination. Green and white teas lose their flavor more easily, so they were less popular as a result.

This is the stuff is the basic ingredient of Earl Grey, English Breakfast and other popular teas. The difference between these types of tea are that the tea leaves are blended with either different types of teas or essential oils. Earl Grey tea, for example, is a mixture of black tea and bergamot oil. Chai tea, however, is black tea mixed with a blend of spices, which are then combined with milk and some sort of sweetener for the final beverage.

Many people like to drink this tea in the morning, because the oxidation process concentrates the amount of caffeine in the drink. This makes it a nice alternative to coffee for some individuals. It won’t provide quite the same kick as a nice cup of java, but it is a good option if you’d like to step down your caffeine consumption over time.

As for health benefits, some studies have linked drinking black tea on a long term basis with lowered levels of LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. There may also be a reduced risk of stroke for black tea drinkers.

There’s also some evidence pointing out some ability to kill off a bit of the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. The tannins and antioxidants are also helpful to bolstering the immune system.

Beautiful image of green tea in a glass mug.
by wildbindi, [CC BY-ND 2.0], via flickr

Green Tea
Although green tea is made from the same plant as black tea, the leaves aren’t as heavily oxidized, which allows the plant to retain more of its original compounds. It’s also less caffeinated and flavorful. It does still have a very nice taste, but it’s not quite as strong as black tea, and fades more quickly.

However, its lack of caffeine and flavor is more than made up for in its health properties. Green tea is currently used in the following ways:

  • Weight loss
  • stomach disorders (nausea, diarrhea)
  • headaches
  • osteoporosis
  • heart and blood disease
  • cancer prevention
  • hard tumor treatment
  • HPV (genital warts)
  • High cholesterol
  • Mental performance

The list goes on and on. Although many of these may not have a lot of studies to back them up, it is FDA approved as a part of an ointment blend to treat genital warts, and there have been studies indicating its effectiveness in lowering cholesterol levels as well as increasing mental acuity.

Because it’s already shown so much promise, studies are constantly underway on this remarkable beverage.

However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Too much green tea, as in more than around five cups a day, can upset your stomach, and in some people, cause liver damage.

If you are thinking of adding green tea to your treatment regimen of any problem, talk to your doctor first, and check for drug interactions. Certain medications will interact badly with medicinal levels of green tea, some of them severely.

Due to the caffeine levels in both green and black tea, it’s a good idea to avoid them if you’re pregnant.

When it comes to the arena of health benefits, green tea seems to have won this battle, but when it comes to long lasting flavor and short term energy boosts, though, black tea is the victor.

As for my personal tastes? I prefer green tea. Black tea has too strong of a flavor for me, and I always feel better after a nice cup of the green stuff.

4 thoughts on “Black Tea vs Green Tea”

  1. I grew up with black tea (unsweetened) and it is what I still prefer. If I drink green tea, I like it with honey. I've leaned more towards coffee as I get older, but I still drink several cups of black tea in a month – hot, in the cold weather and iced, in the warm. Alana

  2. I've become a coffee fan, too, though the acidity tends to mess with my stomach if I have too much.

    I don't recall really having green tea as a kid, though my grandmother always used to make us the best peppermint tea in the world. Guess it just comes down to a question of flavor for me.

  3. I drink about 2 cups of black or green tea a day, along with a variety of herbal teas. It's helped me cut down on coffee. I was unaware of some of this information regarding the two teas though. I personally prefer Earl Grey, Chai, or a flavored green tea.

  4. It sounds like you've developed a very healthy habit. 🙂

    I enjoy flavored green teas, too. I had a great ginger/green tea blend a couple of years ago, but haven't been able to find it again since.

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