White Tea vs Green Tea: The 4 Main Differences

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white tea vs green teaLooking for your next health-boosting tea? Then look no further than white and green tea. Despite both coming from the camellia sinensis plant, these teas have a few key differences, aside from their names of course! Some main differences that separate these two include the harvesting and processing methods used, their caffeine content, the taste and flavor palette, and more.

Harvesting and processing

Similar to black tea, oolong tea or yellow tea, both green tea and white tea also come from the camellia sinesnsis plant. 

These two teas are also harvested in mostly similar ways. 

It is often said white tea comes from leaves and buds picked at an earlier harvest time, but this is not entirely true. Both green and white tea leaves can be harvested at the same time, with varieties featuring both new and older leaves and buds. 

The real differences start to become pronounced as soon as these leaves are harvested, though. Leaves that will become white tea undergo a shorter time of oxidization, being set to sun-dry, get pan-fried, steamed or allowed to wither in heat and humidity-controlled chambers. This method also allows many of the silver-white downy buds to remain on the leaves, which explains the name “white” tea. 

Green tea, however, is allowed to oxidize a bit longer than white tea. Green tea leaves are also often withered or dried in the shade or out of direct sunlight in heat and humidity-controlled rooms. 

The length of the oxidization period is really what sets these two tea types on different paths. Sometimes additionally referred to as “fermentation”, the oxidization process of tea leaves is very similar to fermentation but not the same. 

While white tea leaves have their oxidization period halted shortly after they are harvested by being exposed to high heat, green tea leaves are allowed to soak up oxygen a bit longer before being heated up.

Caffeine content

The debate on caffeine content as found in green and white tea can be a contentious one. Some sources claim particular white teas can have more caffeine than coffee, while others claim that white tea is lower in caffeine than green tea. 

The truth is, on average green tea has more caffeine than white tea. but this does not mean every green tea leaf variety out there has more caffeine than every white tea variety in the world. 

The results can vary, for example, because younger buds contain more caffeine as a defense mechanism against hungry insects, teas with higher percentages of young buds pack more caffeine than older leaves. The steeping time and temperature one uses can also play a role in the caffeine content of your tea. 

The taste

What is the main difference in terms of taste for green and white tea? Another tricky question with tricky answers. 

As with caffeine content, tea leaves can vary widely even within the same tea type. Tea leaves’ flavors can be determined by when the leaves were harvested, how long they were allowed to oxidize, the terroir and climate where they were grown and the brewing methods one uses. 

But, on average greens will taste a bit stronger compared to whites. They will have a more vegetal flavor and be more bitter compared to white teas. White teas will oftentimes be more floral, sweeter and milder with their flavor palettes than many green teas.

Health benefits

 Both green and white tea have the following health benefits:

  • Providing health-boosting antioxidants. Though white tea often offers more than many green teas do on average
  • Help to cut down on bad cholesterol.
  • Help protect our hearts from health risks and promote cardiovascular health.
  • Can help in reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Provide L-theanine, which helps to calm our nerves and guards us against jitters and the caffeine crash we may experience from other caffeinated drinks.
  • Going along with the previous health boost, both give us a healthy dose of caffeine. Green tea on average will contain more than white teas, though.
  • Provide various vitamins and minerals.

White tea vs Green tea for weight loss

Even though both of these teas are excellent choices as healthy beverages for weight loss, one does put in a little bit more heavy lifting than the other. 

The trick to this one is in the caffeine. Caffeine is great for weight loss as it can help to boost our metabolism and enhances physical and mental performance, focus and awareness. 

This makes tea a great pre-workout drink. Because green teas often have slightly more caffeine than many white teas, this puts green tea a little bit ahead of white when it comes to being a weight-loss drink

White tea vs Green Tea; the final verdict

The great thing about this kind of comparison is that you can’t really go wrong either way. As always, choose whichever tea is best for you and your lifestyle, preferably through first-hand experience! 

If you are seeking less caffeine but a bit more antioxidants, opt for white, but more caffeine at the loss of some antioxidants in comparison, choose the classic green tea. Also make sure to steep your leaves for the right duration, and to use the proper brewing vessels!

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