3 Key Differences Between Black and Green Tea

Black tea and green tea have a lot in common, but in many ways they are unique. They come from the exact same plant, but they are quite different in flavor, caffeine, and antioxidant levels, among other things.

If you’re beginning to explore the incredible world of loose leaf tea, I understand how it can be quite daunting. There’s a lot to discover, but the journey is fun and rewarding.

This goal of this article is to break down the key differences between black tea and green tea so that you can spend less time stressing and more time sipping. We want to empower you to choose the tea type that suits your unique preferences and lifestyle.

If you’re struggling to decide whether green tea or black tea is right for you, struggle no more. Let’s walk through some main differences together.


Which One Has More Antioxidants?

Which One Has More Antioxidants?

Antioxidants improve your body’s health in a variety of ways. They prolong skin elasticity and youth, prevent against cardiovascular wear and tear, and can even reduce your risk of certain cancers - all by stopping chaotic molecules called free radicals from starting chain reactions and causing problems.

According to a study published by the Journal of Nutrition, green tea almost always has a higher concentration of antioxidants than black tea. The researchers concluded that black tea’s catechin (a type of antioxidant) levels measured at 2-20% of the extracted solids, while green tea was found to contain a much higher concentration of 30-43%.

Both tea types are a good source of antioxidants, but green tea takes the cake in this area by a significant margin.

Black Tea Brews More Caffeine And L-Theanine

Caffeine is the hard worker’s best friend. It keeps you awake and alert, but it can also induce jitters and anxiety. This is where l-theanine in tea comes in. It calms your nerves and settles your anxieties. It also smooths the rough edges of caffeine by causing you to rise and fall gently, rather than with a rush and a crash. Together, they bring you to an alert, yet calm state of mind.

Black tea, because you brew it with a higher temperature and longer steep time, produces more caffeine and l-theanine in your cup than green tea. Take a look at these numbers.

Though it’s hard to generalize with complete confident about caffeine levels in tea, it is well understood that black tea brews more caffeine and l-theanine than green tea. Both tea types will give you a boost without jitters, but black tea’s ability to do so is a little more powerful.

If you’re trying to decide between black tea or green tea and the energy boost is important to you, go with black for a more potent boost and green for a gentler one.

They Have Quite Distinct Flavors

They Have Quite Distinct Flavors

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Even though they come from the exact same plant, black and green tea can taste very different. You may love green tea and hate black tea. You may have a slight preference for one over the other. Either way, knowing the differences in flavor can go a long way in the journey towards finding the perfect tea for your tastes.

Green tea flavor is often characterized as flowery, herby, nutty, and minerally. Sometimes it tastes like sweet hay. Sometimes it tastes floral and mild. Many people simply call this realm of flavor “green”. Green tea’s mouthfeel can be light, heavy, creamy, and even slightly buttery.

Black tea flavor is often characterized as dark, chocolatey, earthy, citrusy, fruity, floral, and malty. Sometimes it has deep flavors like dark chocolate and earth. Sometimes it’s slightly fruity with a hint of malt. There are a lot of possible flavors, but for the most part they are all wrapped together in a deep and dark realm of flavor. Black tea’s mouthfeel can be light or heavy, but is rarely creamy or silky.

If lighter and greener flavors sound like they fit your taste preferences, give green tea a try. If deeper, earthier flavors sound more up your alley, go with black tea. If you think you may enjoy both flavor realms at different points of the day, there’s no harm in trying both.

Tea has a strange way of empowering us and causing us to appreciate life in a new way.

We′re just excited to share that with you.

Our primary mission is to connect people to fresh, premium quality loose leaf tea.

Our tea leaf subscription can help you find the perfect teas for your preferences and lifestyle by giving you the chance to taste multiple teas every month.

If you’d rather pick out your tea yourself, check out our samples.

We’ve laid out some of the most impactful differences between black and green tea, but if you’re still struggling, there’s hope. We know exactly how to cure your tea confusion.

Happy brewing!