We have written about differences between White tea and Green tea, but how about White tea compared to Black tea? For many years, black tea has been the only known so called real tea in the West, most usually called Indian Tea. It was the only tea from Camellia sinensis plant that could endure the long ship transport without losing its flavor in the long trip.
White tea vs. Black tea: Antioxidant polyphenols
Black tea and White tea do come from the same plant, but there are many important differences between them. The first and probably most important difference is in the way they are picked and treated. White tea leaves are picked in a few early months of spring, while they are still young and delicate and covered with fine white hairs. Before White tea leaves are shipped, they are quickly dried and do not undergo the process of oxidation, also known as fermentation and this is why White tea retains the most health giving antioxidants. On the other hand, Black tea leaves are picked later, and because they stay on the plant longer, they contain more caffeine than White tea leaves. After picking, the tea leaves are fermented/oxidized and this process changes the colour of the leaves from green to dark brown or black.
If you’re looking for a tea that will boost your health, definitely go for White tea. Because it is the least processed tea, it retains the highest levels of polyphenols which contain healthy antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals in our body that are formed by exposure to different toxic or harmful factors such as alcohol, sunlight, air pollution, pesticides, etc. Antioxidants attack free radicals and help prevent cell and tissue damage that otherwise leads to illness. Black tea has the least antioxidant polyphenols, comparing to Green tea and White tea, but White tea has the strongest concentration.
White tea vs. Black tea: Flavor
Another big difference between White and Black tea is in the flavor. While White tea distinguishes itself by its subtle and fresh taste, Black tea has a much stronger taste and can be taken with milk, cream and sugar. White tea is best without anything, but black tea lovers might find it a bit to subtle or even watery at first.
White tea vs. Black tea: Caffeine content
A cup of Black tea will have the highest amount of caffeine of all so called common or real teas, even up to three times more than a cup of White tea.
Here are some Caffeine content comparisons:
Coffee (5 oz. cup) … 80 mg
Cola (12 oz. can) … 45 mg
Black Tea (one tea bag) … 40 mg
Oolong Tea (one tea bag) … 30 mg
Green Tea (one tea bag) … 20 mg
White Tea (one tea bag) … 15 mg
Decaf Tea (one tea bag) … 2 mg
Herbal Tea (one tea bag) … 0 mg
If you wish to reduce the caffeine levels of your tea or make your own decaf tea, you might be interested in Homemade decaffeinated tea article.
White tea vs. Black tea: Preparation, brewing and steeping
Black tea is steeped in boiling water, but do not pour boiling hot water over White tea leaves or you will ruin the precious health giving properties of White tea. The best water temperature for steeping White tea is at around 175 degreed Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius. You can reuse the same tea leaves to brew more than one pot of tea. With every reuse, the caffeine level and the taste will diminish. More on how to brew White tea.