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black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong – what’s the difference?

Posted by Becky on 5th May 2015

black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong – what’s the difference?

Some pub facts

 1. They all come from the same plant – the “tea” plant

 2. The tea plant is called Camelia sinensis. 

 3. They all contain caffeine. 

What makes them different?

It’s the way the tea is processed that makes it different. Black tea is tea that has been oxidised (or “fermented”). This means the air is allowed to get to the tea leaves. To look at it very simply, as the air gets to the leaf, it turns from green to brown – just like an apple turns from fresh and green to dry and brown when left in open air. You can stop the oxidation process by heating the leaves. Stopping the process at different stages is what produces these different types of tea on a scale that goes from white to green to oolong to black.

White and green teas are heated early on and not allowed to oxidise (that’s what makes them light and fresh), oolong tea is part oxidised (so it’s darker and has more strength) and black tea is oxidised (that’s why it’s so dark and strong).  

You can learn more here