Tea has been popular for thousands of years, used medicinally in many cultures. Modern science now has studies confirming the health benefits that tea has to offer. Not all teas tout the same benefits, though, with a vast array of teas to choose from. It can get a bit confusing what the differences are between different types of tea. In this post, we’ll dive into the difference between two of my favorite tea types: white tea vs green tea.
Types of Tea
If you are a tea lover and love a good cup of tea or have ever stepped foot in a tea shop, you already know there are hundreds of tea varieties to choose from. However, the main types of tea to choose from are black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and aged teas such as PU-erh tea. Herbal teas are also incredibly popular; however, herbal teas are not actually “true teas” as they are typically made from flowers, herbs, and spices rather than real tea.
White tea and green tea originate from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Both white tea and green tea contain a plethora of polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have proven health benefits, also known as antioxidants.
White tea is the least processed of true teas. Once the white tea leaves are harvested, they are dried in direct sunlight to remove the moisture- this is called withering.
When brewed with hot water, white tea is a pale yellow with a light and airy body. The flavor is a sweet, delicate flavor with a floral profile. The name comes not from the dried tea leaves, but instead, white tea derives its name from the whitish appearance of the silvery-white hairs that are on the unopened buds of the Camellia sinensis tea plant.
White teas are made using only the youngest tea buds and tea leaves from the tea plant. The highest quality of white tea is called Silver Needle. Silver Needle tea only uses the young buds of the tea plant. While White Peony is known as the second-highest quality of tea and contains a blend of buds and young leaves from the tea plant.
White tea is cultivated around the globe, but mainly from China, commonly grown in the Fujian province and Zhejiang providence and from Africa.
Green tea has both a Chinese and Japanese origin. Green teas will vary from the region they are harvested from in the processing, growing conditions, and harvesting times.
Green tea is processed differently than white tea. Green tea is quickly heated after harvesting- either steamed or roasted, depending on the region where the leaves are cultivated. The heating of green tea leaves during the drying process is a process of oxidation, although it is minimal. The oxidation process exposes the tea leaves to oxygen. Exposure to oxygen through the oxidation process is how the leaves darken and develop a deeper flavor profile.
There are several types of green teas to choose from. Popular green teas include gunpowder green teas and jasmine green teas. Matcha tea is a traditional Japanese tea that has been gaining popularity in the U.S. in recent years. Matcha green tea comes in the form of a fine green powder; it is mixed with hot water and stirred with a bamboo whisk to dissolve the green powder. Some even choose to add it into baked sweets. Matcha tea is typically a higher cost than other standard green teas.
Differences Between White Tea vs Green Tea
While white tea and green tea both come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, the main differences between white tea and green tea are when they are harvested, how they are processed, and their flavor profile.
White tea leaves are harvested at a much younger age than green tea leaves. White tea leaves are harvested from the buds and young tea leaves shortly after the buds have formed. Green tea leaves are picked after the buds have formed a shoot.
Once harvested, the processing of each type of tea leaves is also different. White tea undergoes minimal processing, while green tea undergoes more processing. Since white tea undergoes less processing, it is also not oxidized or exposed to oxygen. Green tea is.
White tea is typically more expensive than green tea and is considered rarer as it has a shorter harvesting period, only lasting a few days of early spring.
White & Green Tea Caffeine
White tea has the lowest caffeine content of any true tea, remembering that herbal teas are not actually “true teas.” The amount of caffeine in white tea is typically about 15-20 mg. On average, the caffeine component of green tea is more at 35-70 mg of caffeine. This does not include Matcha green tea, which contains more caffeine since it is comprised of the entire green tea leaf. Both green tea and white tea have lower caffeine levels than a standard cup of coffee.
White Tea & Green Tea Health Benefits
Studies have shown that white tea and green tea are packed full of antioxidants such as catechins, tannins, and polyphenols. Green tea has been touted for its high concentrations of polyphenols. These antioxidants have been known to help fight free radicals and boost the immune system. They’ve also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may support improving circulation and lowering the risk of heart disease and therefore may help improve cardiovascular health.
Polyphenols are plant compounds and antioxidants that can help fight free radicals and boost the immune system. Tea has been shown to have the best benefits when drinking it daily over time.
Both white tea and green tea have been known to support weight for various reasons. One is that it is a great replacement for unhealthy sodas and sugar drinks. White and green tea also contains caffeine, acting as a mental stimulant it can help support exercise.
When tea is used in conjunction with a weight loss program or balanced diet, the polyphenols in tea assist in activating an enzyme in your body that can dissolve excess triglycerides. Helping to speed up metabolism and improve fat burning.
It’s important to note that tea alone should never be used to meet weight loss goals or health goals but instead be an addition to an overall healthy, well-balanced diet.
You don’t have to be a ta lover to reap the positive effects of green tea or white tea. With so many green tea or white tea varieties, you are sure to find a flavor you enjoy! A cup a day of tea can make a healthy addition to your daily life.
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Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.