Tea is one of the oldest drinks in the world, enjoyed by billions of people for centuries. There are different types of tea, but the most well-known are white and green tea. So what’s the difference between them? Let’s look at the distinctions between these two types of tea.
White Tea vs Green Tea – What’s the difference?
Distinct in color with a slight variation in taste, surprisingly both teas are look-alike twins derived from the same plant Camellia Sinensis. White tea wasn’t discovered until the 17th century in Fujian, China where the plant’s first leaves and buds with tiny white hair were harvested. Green tea, however, dates back to 2737 BC where it originated and is made using the next two leaves of the plant. If both are obtained from the same plant then what’s the debate about you may ask? Well, the answer lies in its processing technique which alters its chemical structure thus leading to a list of beneficial differences between them.
Processing Difference Between White and Green Tea?
White and green tea is one of the healthiest beverages due to their minimal processing unlike the oolong and black tea which is heavily oxidized. White tea is gently processed in order to avoid damage to its fragile young bud and plucked with extra care to get high-quality tea. Apart from their quality grade the processing stages a) external withering and b) internal withering are also vital as it is responsible for their caffeine content and other beneficial differences. White tea packed in tea bags without the bud loses its efficacy and is considered of low quality. The leaves of the green tea need to be laid out in the sun on bamboo sheets as soon as they are picked; a failure that might result in oxidation affecting the final quality of the product. The sun-dried leaves are then gently pan-fried to retain their freshness.
White and Green Tea Growing Areas & Seasons
White tea is a delicately crafted beverage. The new, young leaves and buds from the Camellia Sinensis plant are only harvested for about six weeks each spring in Fujian province of China during March to April when it’s not rainy or humid (to prevent fungus). Green tea can be found all over the world, but it’s most famous for being grown and produced in China. The different types that come from all over the world have their own unique flavors due to climate, soil conditions, altitude, etc.
Is White Tea Better for You Than Green Tea?
This is a common question that’s asked, and it depends on whether you’re comparing the benefits of one tea over another or the benefits to your own body. Tea drinkers have long debated the health benefits of white tea versus green tea. Both types come from the same plant but are harvested and processed differently to create different flavors and health benefits.
Green tea is made from leaves that are dried quickly after harvest, while white tea is made from leaves that are dried slowly, often in the sun. This results in a more delicate flavor for white tea also containing more antioxidants that can benefit your health. Additionally, white tea may help protect against cancer and heart disease making it a perfect choice for a healthy drink.
White Tea vs Green Tea Taste
Both have a large variety of flavors. The various types of white tea (mainly 5) offer aromatics such as natural freshness, nutty sweetness, or even bitter notes while green tea often provides more potent tastes that range anywhere from floral to fruity depending on the type you’re drinking.
Caffeine Content In White Tea vs Green Tea?
Both varieties contain a reasonable amount of caffeine but white tea has less caffeine ranging from 6-55mg per 250ml as compared to green tea which contains 30-70mg per 250ml. The amount varies due to many factors including where it was grown as well as what type you’re drinking. This is because all real-tea types are made from Camellia Sinensis and processing methods alter its content of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that stimulates metabolism while reducing inflammation but this varies per variety depending on cultivar type since some may not undergo enough oxidation during manufacturing leading them to contain less. That said white tea is a much better way for you to lower your caffeine intake than other caffeinated beverages. In general, any type of caffeine source will be more detrimental than helpful when trying to reduce exhaustion due to lackadaisical sleep habits. In this video from TED-Ed, Hanan Qasim shares how caffeine helps us feel alert, focused, and awake!
Catechins in White vs Green Tea
Chemically it’s a crystalline flavonoid having antioxidant properties; simply put catechin is a substance that aids in protection against cell damage caused by free radicals. EGCG is the most abundantly found and most potent antioxidant in the catechin family. A 2010 study in the Journal of Food Science found that catechin values in dry white tea leaves ranged from 14.40 to 369.60mg/g vs 21.38 to 228mg/g in dry green tea leaves. The study also concluded that the processing affected these values more than their type and the tea with more fuller leaves and buds naturally contained more catechins. The health benefits however are endless, some are as follows.
Benefits of White Tea Versus Green Tea
1- Rich in antioxidants
The white tea being gently processed contains a considerably higher amount of antioxidant level, these are essential compounds that repair damage caused by free radicals (a result of oxidation from a chemical reaction caused by deterioration of stored food products). In an era where packaged food has become a lifestyle, white and green tea is a powerful ally to support and maintain a healthy immune system.
2- Boosts cardiovascular health
What could be better than a heart-healthy tea that has zero calories? Research published in March 2015 called the ‘Annals of the Epidemiology’ consisting of 90,000 Japanese participants concluded that green tea isn’t just a weight loss promoter but it aids in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides in the body, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or even death. “The EGCG compound can help prevent atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in arteries) and improve the function of the endothelial cells in the blood vessels; responsible for vascular relaxation, immune function, and platelets,” says Dr. Erin Palinski a renowned nutrition and fitness expert.
3- Aids weight loss
With weight loss regimes becoming an international trend and people following all sorts of diets to rid their bodies of harmful fat. Especially in the post-pandemic scenario that has played a major role in shifting people’s mindset towards a healthy lifestyle. Although there aren’t any studies to prove it, experts believe that due to a higher amount of polyphenols in white tea (due to lesser processing) boosts fat oxidation which aids in weight loss. But white tea alone cannot do much on its own unless combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet. To gain maximum health benefits it’s best to avoid adding sugar, honey, or milk to the tea.
4 – Reverses signs of aging
Aging is a natural process that occurs as we get older, but many other factors have accelerated this process even in young adults. Environmental stressors like pollution, UV rays are most detrimental to the skin and human health. White tea also popularly known as the ‘beauty tea’ helps in curbing cellular components that damage the fiber network of the skin keeping it firm and tight. Secondly, green tea works for the scalp too by stimulating skin cells in the hair follicles promoting hair growth and getting rid of dandruff. It promotes blood circulation, and consuming it regularly can help brighten up your dull skin. Not just that Green tea is also packed with Vitamin B and E that are essential for skin elasticity. And tannins that work as a skin toner binding with the amino acid in the body, to regulate sebum production, shrink pores, reduce acne and pimples.
Can Tea Be Bad for Your Health?
Even though both teas are minimally processed but may have some side effects for people who are sensitive to caffeine. The beverage may cause stomach upsets and is advised to be consumed 30 min after a meal and never empty stomach. Having the tea at the right time and in moderation can increase its efficacy and overall health benefits.
In terms of taste, white tea is usually sweeter and richer than green tea. Studies have shown that white tea may be the healthier option as it contains more antioxidants. As white tea is made from young buds that have been allowed to grow for a minimal time before harvesting whereas green tea leaves come from older plants with more mature stems. These two types of teas also differ in their caffeine content. If you’re looking for a herbal beverage without any caffeine at all, try rooibos instead! What type of iced beverages do you usually enjoy? Let me know in the comment section below!
FAQs About White Tea vs Green Tea
Does white and Green tea contain EGCG?
EGCG is the most abundantly found and most potent antioxidant in the catechin family. A 2010 study in the Journal of Food Science found that catechin values in dry white tea leaves ranged from 14.40 to 369.60mg/g vs 21.38 to 228mg/g in dry green tea leave.
Does white tea stain teeth?
Tannin is the element in tea that gives it a light or dark tan, hence the name. The more processed tea like oolong tea and black tea tends to stain teeth moreover long time consumption but because white tea is the least processed and lightly brewed the chances of teeth staining are close to nothing.
Can you drink white tea every day?
In moderation yes, this natural detox blend if consumed daily can revitalize overall health with its mild flavour, refreshing scent, and immune-boosting elements.