Have you ever wondered about the difference between Black teas and Green Teas? Or are you an avid tea drinker and want to add to your chest of tea-related knowledge? Read about black tea vs green tea and all that is there to these popular tea types!
From casual conversations at parties to tea-tasting workshops, this is among the top of the frequently asked questions me: what the difference between Black Tea and Green tea is. And every time I answer it, it has a magical effect - as if I have cast a spell! People flock around, eager and excited, attentive and amazed as I unravel the mystery of this mystical beverage, we all know as ‘tea’.
As a tea master, let me take you on a humble tea leaf's chrysalis journey that transforms it into a strong, bold cup of Assam black tea or delicate green tea from the Nilgiris, all in a matter of just 24 hours! Let’s take a look!
BLACK & GREEN TEA BOTH COME FROM THE SAME PLANT
Many times, people assume that Black and Green teas, because of the difference in their taste, color, and experience, come from different plants. But that isn’t true!
Both black and green tea come from the same plant - Camellia Sinensis, the scientific name of all tea bushes across the world. After they are harvested (actually, plucked), they go through different processing stages, one of which is Oxidation.
It is Oxidation that is responsible for the tea to transform into black tea or green tea.
OXIDATION OF TEA LEAVES
Time for a crash course in Chemistry! The process of ‘Oxidation’ happens when food reacts with oxygen in the air. It is due to oxidation that a peeled banana or a cut apple starts turning black. This exact process also happens with tea leaves.
When loose leaf tea is allowed to oxidize in controlled conditions, the biochemical compounds in the tea leaves are exposed to oxygen in the air. Thereby takes place a complex reaction that makes the tea leaves change their appearance from green to black (actually, it is a dark shade of copper).
After the leaves attain an optimal level of oxidation, they are passed through a long, flat conveyor at a high temperature. This is called Firing or Drying and is similar to baking (imagine loaves being baked inside an oven). Firing stops the oxidization process, reducing moisture to around 3-4%. When the tea emerges after firing, it becomes the familiar black tea that we know of.
So, it is the phenomenon of oxidation that makes tea black. Not a whole other plant.
HOW DOES THE SAME PLANT BECOME GREEN TEA?
Wondering how loose-leaf green tea is made? Okay, let’s take a look at how the same plant becomes a delicious, nourishing cup of green tea.
Whilst making green tea, the oxidation process is completely bypassed. In other words, green tea is what you get when the tea leaves are not allowed to react with the oxygen in the air, and hence, retain their bright green color!
The tea leaves, after being plucked, undergo a quick heat treatment to destroy the tea enzyme. In Japan, this is done by steaming the tea leaves, while in China, tea leaves are pan-fried. A reason why one can find so many different variations of green tea, from all around the world. For example - one of the varieties of powdered Green Tea, known as Matcha Green Tea. is nurtured, harvested, and processed in a unique way. At Vahdam, we have an exclusive Matcha collection, where in addition to the authentic Japanese matcha green tea, we also have traditional blends with Indian superfoods like Turmeric, Moringa, and Ashwagandha. We also do a luscious, appetizing matcha blend of Vanilla green tea. Read about the health benefits of matcha tea.
After heat treatment, the tea leaves are semi-dried and rolled - either by hand or in rollers. They then undergo firing to remove excess moisture and are then graded, sorted, and packed.
The only difference between black tea and green tea, therefore, is the oxidation process. Rather the presence or absence of this process.
SO, TO RECAP
- Both black tea and green tea come from the same plant - Camellia Sinensis
It is the oxidation process that turns the same tea leaf into black tea or green tea
You can check out our impressive collection of Black teas, sourced from prime tea-growing regions in India like Darjeeling and Assam. From signature single-estate black teas and our expertly curated blended black teas to curate our bestsellers. You can sample our collection here.
We also have delectable and exclusive varieties of green teas, sourced from Darjeeling, Nilgiris in Southern India, and Kangra from North India. The terroir of these tea-producing regions contributes to the cup’s characteristics, and you get a unique experience with every single blend. Our blenders have combined these garden-fresh green teas with bountiful florals, herbs, and spices to bring you an impressive range of deeply nourishing green teas. You can try out a refreshing, sprightly blend of green tea, lemon green tea, and our soothing Mint Green Tea. Check our collection here.
For those of you who are wondering where to start, we would suggest that you try out our Green Tea detox box which has four of the very best, unique, and health some green tea blends.
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