Black Tea vs Green Tea: Flavor, Processing, Health Benefits & More
Black tea and green tea create our most popular energy tea blends. We can't wake up in the morning without a delicious cup of caffeinated tea! But what exactly is the difference between green tea and black tea, other than the flavor?
In this brief guide, we'll explore the differences between green tea and black tea in more detail. If you'd like to skip to the good bit, check out our high caffeine teas at Zest!
Black Tea vs Green Tea
Green tea and black tea are just two of the many types of tea available. To learn more about all the different types and varieties of tea (caffeinated and decaffeinated), read the A to Zest Guide to Types of Tea.
Drinking tea isn't just a way to get your energy levels up. The most obvious difference between a cup of green tea, black tea, white tea, etc. is the flavor.
Green tea - fresh, grassy, bright, mellow, floral, vegetal.
Black tea - malty, rich, robust, tannins, bitter, full-bodied.
These are the typical flavor profiles of black and green tea. Depending on the grade, origin and processing, the tea can have more nuanced flavors too. A Japanese green tea is going to taste subtly different to a Chinese green tea, for example. The finest black teas may have notes of stone fruits, while others have mineral flavors, and so on.
The flavor of black and green tea also depends on other ingredients added. For example, our Earl Grey is made with bergamot to add a refreshing zesty note. Discover all our tea flavors.
All caffeinated tea is made from the leaves of the same tea plant. It's the processing that changes a tea from green to black. The plant called Camellia sinensis has many varieties and cultivars - some are best suited to creating green tea leaves and others black tea leaves.
Green tea - the leaves are picked and then quickly pan-fired or steamed to fix the enzymes, which keeps the leaves green and fresh. They are then dried and packaged.
Black tea - unlike green tea, black tea undergoes the oxidation process. After the leaves are picked, they are exposed to air allowing the enzymes to partially break down the leaves. This turns them from fresh and green to black and rich. They are then dried and packaged.
Other tea types, like oolong tea, fall somewhere in-between.
Black tea and green tea are grown in many places around the world, although they both originated from China.1 The tea plant grows best in subtropical climates that have mild winters and heavy rainfall. Growing tea plants at different elevations also impacts the quality and flavor.
Tea is grown in China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Kenya, among many other countries. Here are some of the most well-known regions and cultivars.
- Indian Black Teas - Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Assam black teas,
- Chinese Black Teas - Keemun, Dian Hong, and Lapsang Souchong,
- Japanese Green Teas - Sencha, Matcha, Genmaicha, and Gyokuro,
- Chinese Green Teas - Dragonwell, Yunwu, Biluochun, and Mao Feng.
Like wine and coffee, the origins of the tea does impact the flavor profile. At Zest Tea, we carefully selected Young Hyson Chinese green tea and Nilgiri Indian black tea for our energy tea blends.
The popularity of black or green tea depends on the country you are surveying. Here in America, iced tea (made from fresh tea or a fine powder) is most popular. But online surveys have found that black and green tea are closely tied for popularity in general, with 50% of participants indicating they choose green tea and 48% indicating they prefer black tea.2
At Zest, we've noticed that our black teas are more popular with ex-coffee drinkers, as they prefer the warm and rich flavor that tastes so good with a little milk and sugar. Green tea, however, is more popular with those looking to boost their health, lose weight, and enjoy the many benefits that come in a cup of tea.
An easy way to try both tea types is with our mega sampler tea packs.
The caffeine content varies from one tea to the next. The type of tea, black or green, doesn't technically impact the caffeine. If you took two leaves from the same tea plant and processed one as black tea and one as green tea, they should have pretty much the same amount of caffeine each.
There is more caffeine in the buds and young leaves of the tea plant, so a high quality green tea may contain more caffeine than a low-quality black tea made with larger leaves from further down the tea plant.
But usually, green tea has less caffeine than black tea due to the varieties and leaves that are picked and processed. In general;
Green tea - 28mg of caffeine per 8oz serving.
Black tea - 47mg of caffeine per 8oz serving.3
One way to enjoy green tea but get a caffeine boost that's even bigger than a cup of coffee, is with Zest Tea.
Green and black teas are full of catechins, antioxidants, and amino acids. One key amino acid in the chemical composition of tea leaves, is L-Theanine. Not only does it slow the onset of caffeine and produce a calm, creative mood, it also has numerous other health benefits.
Here are some of the health benefits associated with green and black tea.
Green tea is high in amino acid L-Theanine and is linked to;
- A reduction in blood pressure,4
- EGCG catechins in green tea reduce atherosclerosis to promote heart health,5
- Polyphenols in green tea may have anticancer effects when combined with other vitamins and nutrients to support the immune system,6
- Green tea activates working memory, improves brain function, and reduces anxiety.7
The benefits of black tea include;
- Tea can support microbiota for improved gut health, which has beneficial effects for preventing obesity through "reduction of appetite, food consumption and food absorption in [the] gastrointestinal system and through the changes in fat metabolism",8
- 2 cups of unsweetened black tea per day can decrease your heart disease risk and prevent cardiovascular disease progression,9
- Black tea has some antiviral properties, as it can inhibit enzymes and block certain receptors.10
While you'd need to consume quite a few cups of tea regularly to benefit from these health perks, other properties of green and black tea are more immediate. The energy boost from caffeine and anxiety-reducing properties of L-Theanine can be observed after drinking tea just once.
Zest Black Tea vs Zest Green Tea
Even if you brew the same serving size of Zest Tea as other teas, you'll still get more caffeine! Regardless of whether you pick green or black tea at Zest, each cup provides more caffeine than coffee.
To create energy tea, we use additional tea extract. It's completely plant-powered and flavored with natural ingredients.
The main differences with Zest black tea vs green tea are the flavor options, caffeine levels, and origins of the tea.
Zest Black Tea
Our black tea is sourced from South India to provide a very smooth and warming flavor. You can brew our black tea with boiling water, for 3-5 minutes, to get a delicious cuppa.
We also have some ready-to-drink teas that come in cans. Just like our hot black teas, they are low to no sugar and totally plant-powered.
Black Tea Flavors
- Blue Lady (hot)
- Earl Grey (hot)
- Cinnamon Apple (hot)
- Spicy Masala Chai (hot)
- Passionfruit Berry (ready-to-drink)
- Sweet Chai Infusion (ready-to-drink)
- Blackberry Lime (ready-to-drink)
Zest Green Tea
Green tea vs black tea is usually a battle of caffeine levels. Compared to the average caffeine content of green and black tea above, Zest is elevated. Our green teas contain around 135mg per serving while our black teas total 150mg.
This is the most highly caffeinated tea on the market!
Brewing green tea by Zest is also simple. For the best results, use water that's a little cooler than boiling (around 80°C/176°F) or try our ready-to-drink green energy teas.
Green Tea Flavors
- Pomegranate Mojito (hot)
- Superberry Samba (hot)
- Pomegranate Mint (ready-to-drink)
- Blood Orange Mango (ready-to-drink)
- Cucumber Melon (ready-to-drink)
What's the difference between black and green tea?
Green tea leaves are a bright green color, they produce a fresh and green-tasting tea. Black tea, on the other hand, has been oxidized to produce a richer, maltier, and more robust flavor. They have similar health benefits but varying caffeine levels.
Which is better, green tea or black tea?
Both have unique flavors, health benefits, and are popular with tea drinkers. Typically, green teas are better for refreshing your mind and body, with a calming effect thanks to their L-Theanine medicinal properties. Black tea varieties are more invigorating, with a higher caffeine content and more robust flavor profile.
Is green tea or black tea better for weight loss?
Both green and black tea are zero-calorie beverages when made without milk and sugar. Black tea provides more caffeine, to help you burn off more during your workout. However, green tea contains amino acids and catechins that are linked to reducing body fat11 and is typically consumed without milk and sugar, so it's considered the better tea type for weight loss.
Are green and black tea made from the same plant?
Both green tea and black tea are made from the same plant. The Camellia sinensis plant is known as the tea plant. Its leaves can be used to make green tea or black tea, however different cultivars of the Camellia sinensis plant are usually used to produce the different types.
How do I brew green tea leaves?
Drinking green tea can be a bitter affair if you don't prepare it properly. To brew green tea leaves, use 80°C/176°F water and let 2g of green tea leaf steep for 2-3 minutes. An easier way to brew green tea is with our biodegradable pyramid teabags.