Green Tea vs Black Tea vs Herbal Tea

According to the International Institute of Sustainable Development, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. Black tea and green tea are two of the most common categories of tea and are derived from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Whereas herbal tea is an infusion of various plants or fruits or spices. Whether you are a serial tea drinker or you’ve dabbled in tea when trying to avoid coffee, you will have come across or tasted one or the other! So have you ever wondered what differentiates the three? 

The Process  

 The main difference between black and green tea is how they are processed: black tea is oxidized and green tea is not. Oxidized simply means that the tea leaves have been exposed to oxygen for a period of time.    

For black tea, the plant leaves are rolled and then exposed to air, triggering the oxidation process which leads to the leaves turning a dark brown colour. The oxidiation process allows the flavours of the leaves to heighten and intensify. In contrast, green tea leaves are heated immediately after harvesting to prevent oxidation. This is why green tea is much lighter in colour as it does not go through oxidation and is one of the least processed types of teas.     

Unlike green and black tea, herbal tea doesnt come from the camellia plant and instead is made using a blend of dried flowers, spices, herbs and fruits. Many experts even prefer the term ‘Herbal Infusion’ over ‘Herbal Tea’, as herbal teas do not actually have tea leaves from the camellia plant.  

Brewing & Serving

In addition to being processed differently, the brewing process also differs for black and green tea. When brewing black tea, water is boiled and the black tea is left to steep for around 3-5 minutes. It is recommended that a much lower temperature is used whilst preparing green tea. Why? If the water is too hot, you may burn the green tea leaves resulting in a bitter taste. Experts recommend to steep green tea leaves for around 1-2 minutes.     

When serving and drinking, a splash of milk is often added to a cup of steaming black tea. Green tea and herbal tea are usually consumed as is. Of course, tasting preferences always differ and some people like to add sugar or honey for sweetness, or even a squeeze of a lemon wedge! 

Did you know...

Matcha and chai lattes are made from green and black tea!  Chai lattes are prepared with black tea, whilst matcha-based drinks are made from green tea leaves.  

Which one should you drink?

It depends on your taste preference…  

Black teas have a stronger flavour with tasting notes of malt, honey and spice.  Green teas tend to taste lighter with nutty, vegetal notes.  Some popular types of herbal teas include peppermint and camomile for example.

In terms of caffeine…    

Both black tea and green tea contain caffeine. Black tea usually has more and is better for people who are looking for a caffeine boost, but don’t want to drink coffee. If you are sensitive to caffeine then opt for green tea as it contains less caffeine but can still help you get over that 2pm slump. If you are looking to unwind and relax in the evenings or before bed, reach for the herbal teas.        

No matter which you choose, both are great additions to your lifestyle and will support your overall health. Check out our other blog to find out more reasons why you should drink green tea. 

We supply hotels, offices, cafés and restaurants with our organic teas. We craft the perfect experiences for your customers in every blend. Interested? Get in touch today. 

Some of our organic teas

Earl Grey Java Republic Tea
Yunnan Java Republic Green tea
Java Republic Herbal Infusion Tea