Here's The Real Difference Between Black And Green Tea

When you meander down the tea aisle at the market, it's usually an overwhelming sea of options. A cozy menagerie of varieties in every color and flavor imaginable — from green citrus to black hibiscus and beyond. You might be thinking "what's the difference between black and green tea, anyway?" Turns out, a little science goes a long way in explaining this ever-brewing question.

Both green and black tea have roots in the same plant family — known as the Camellia Sinensis – but are usually crafted from different varieties, according to Artful Tea. They start off pretty similar, and both are linked to health benefits such as lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (via Harvard School of Public Health). 

So we've got these freshly harvested Camellia tea leaves, then what?

Here's where the difference between black and green tea comes about. All fresh tea leaves are green when plucked for our perfect cuppa. If the leaves are destined for black tea varieties, they are aged in open air to encourage oxidation (the darkening of the leaves) which intensifies its flavors (via Healthline). Green tea, on the other hand, is usually steamed or otherwise heated to discourage oxidation, resulting in a lighter color and taste. 

Consider your caffeine desire when choosing between green and black tea

In addition to color and flavor intensity, the caffeine levels in black and green tea are different, with black teas' intensity increasing caffeine (via Nature). Depending on your mood or the time of day, your tea goals may vary — you may or may not want caffeinated tea. Republic of Tea helps narrow down the search by using their handy tea-finder tool, which sorts by caffeine level. Do some pre-grocery shopping research to decide between a steamy cup of caffeine-free Raspberry Rose Hibiscus Tea or zippy full-caf Passion Fruit Papaya.

Brewing how-to is another place where the teas differ. Artful Tea suggests black tea is best brewed with 212° water for three to five minutes. Green tea is more delicate and should be steeped with water at 175° for just one to two minutes. Regardless of your tea choice, tea brew culture near-mandates that you treat yourself to a proper little teapot like this classic from Stash Teas.

If you're gifting tea, choose a smattering of black and green to celebrate the complexities and differences between the two varieties. Grab a custom MudLove Mug and a birthday gift set from Vahdam India for the tea lover in your life.

Green or black, it's up to you, but put the kettle on and enjoy.