Looking for your next health-boosting tea? Then look no further than white or green tea. Despite both coming from the camellia sinensis tea 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.
White tea vs green tea: what do you have in common?
Before we jump in the differences between white and green tea, let start with what they have in common.
- Both white and green tea are produced from the leaves of camellia sinensis plants which has the origin from China.
- These 2 teas are well-known for their amazing health benefits. They both contain good amount of catechins – a type of nature antioxidant which help to prevent many chronic diseases in human.
- Both teas can be consumed as hot or cold beverage.
White tea vs green tea: What are the main differences?
As mentioned above both teas are originated from China. Nowadays, both of them are grown in many different region across the global.
Today, most of white tea production still come from China, mainly in Fujian Province where this tea is first produced and consumed. Silver needle – the most famous white tea is also from this province. As white tea is slowing gaining popularity amount tea drinkers, other countries such as Nepal, India and Sri Lanka also start to grow it to meet the growing demand.
Different from white tea, green tea are more popular and widely grown across many different regions around the world. Among these regions, green tea from China (Chinese green tea) and Japan (Japanese green tea) are the two most popular ones. Although they are both green tea but the growing, harvesting and processing technique are very different, thus the taste of their teas are also different.
Harvesting and processing
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 oxidation process, 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 oxidation process 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.
White tea vs Green Tea 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 black tea, while others claim that it 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.
At first, we all know that white and green tea are both from the same tea plant. Thus what make the difference in caffeine content in these 2 tea are: how the tea are grown, picked, processed and brewed.
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 caffeine in loose tea leaf form is also different from the tea dust in tea bags form. The steeping time and temperature one uses can also play a role in the caffeine content of your tea.
Therefore, in most cases, green tea will have slightly more caffeine compare to white tea. However, there are also cases, white tea has more than green tea.
The taste – which one does taste better?
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, in general 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 – Is white tea healthier than green tea?
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.
- Drinking white or green tea will help cutting down on bad cholesterol.
- Help protect our hearts from heart disease 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.
Selling price – Which one is more expensive?
It is really hard to compare the price of white and green tea to determine which one is more expensive than other. Because, the price depends on the quality of the tea leaves used to produce these tea. It also depends on the processing methods, the packaging as well as the brand value of the tea producers.
Potential side effects of white and green tea
Although both of them are packed with many health benefits, they also have some potential side effects that you should take into consideration.
Firstly, since they both contain a decent amount of caffeine, thus if your body is sensitive with caffeine, then you should avoid drinking green tea or white tea early in the morning or before sleep at night.
Secondly, these two tea are mildly processed tea, thus it can cause stomachache or nauseous if you drink on empty stomach. Drinking 30 to 1 hour after meal is recommended, however if you still have the same symptom, then you should switch to decaffeinated tea or Teas for Acid Reflux
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 benefits 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.
What is about tea brewing methods?
The brewing method for both tea are very similar. All you need are tea pot, tea infuser or tea strainer (optional, if you are using Chinese brewing technique, you do not need it), tea cup and a kettle (traditional or electric) to boil the water.
The ideal temperature for brewing white tea is from 180-190 degree Fahrenheit. For green tea, the temperature should be lower, range from 140-170 degree Fahrenheit.
Steeping time: both tea should be steeped for 2-3 minutes with the lip closed for the best tasting.
These two teas can be drunk hot or cold. To make iced tea with green tea or white tea, just simply add ice cube to the brewed tea (you should cool it down a bit before adding ice) or you can do cold brew as well.
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 stronger tea 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!