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The difference between white, black and green tea- what are you actually drinking?
Tea is a huge part of many cultures, with whole supermarket aisles dedicated to the different types and flavours available. As you immerse yourself in the world of tea you are bound to notice three reoccurring types- black, white and green tea. But what is the difference? Do these varying types of tea offer a range of benefits?
Firstly, it is important to note that black, green and white tea are actually made from the same leaves. These leaves come from the camellia sinensis plant. As a result of this black, green and white tea share some characteristics like caffeine content and tannins. The differences between these types of teas are produced from the way they are processed.
Let’s begin our tea travels with arguably the most common or most popular type of tea- black tea. Black tea is the main component of renowned blends such as English Breakfast tea, Earl Grey tea and Chai masala. Black tea is known for its strong flavour and vivid colour, sometimes described as red tea. These characteristics are a result of the complete oxidation of the tea leaves during the tea processing. Without oxidation tea would taste unbearably bitter. Oxidation is what unlocks tea’s hidden flavours by removing bitter compounds and transforming flavourless proteins into flavourful amino acids.
Green tea, on the other hand, is defined by being unoxidised. The most prevalent example of green tea in the health and wellness community today is matcha. Matcha is a powdered form of tea, made from green tea leaves. It offers more of the benefits provided by green tea because of its highly concentrated form, and also has more caffeine. A number of claims have been made about the beneficial properties of green tea from enhancing mental alertness, to reducing the risk of certain cancers, supporting cardiovascular health and benefiting weight loss. There is little to no scientific evidence which gives solid ground to any of these claims and therefore they should not be taken as fact.
White tea is made from the young or minimally processed leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. White tea is not oxidised which results in a lighter or softer flavour profile than traditional green or black teas. It is made from the young shoots on the tea bush which have a silver, white appear. White tea is perhaps the least popular, or least common type of tea of these three.
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