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  • What's the Difference Between Green and Black Tea

  • Both black and green tea is harvested from an evergreen, tree-like shrub known as camellia

  • sinensis. Most likely originating in China, the camellia sinensis is thought to have first

  • been used to brew a medicinal elixir during the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC). By

  • the Qin Dynasty in the third century BC, it had become a relatively popular drink using

  • only the leaves from this plant, rather than mixed with other things as seems to have been

  • common when used medicinally.

  • As for the plant itself, camellia sinensis can grow as tall as 30 ft if left untended,

  • but is generally kept significantly shorter, usually only 3-6 ft tall, to make it easier

  • to harvest the buds and leaves. It is those that are then processed to become green or

  • black tea, among other types.

  • The difference between these teas is achieved via different processing methods. Manufacturers

  • create green tea by picking the leaves off the plant and then heating them immediately

  • afterwards. This is commonly done by pan firing the leaves or steaming them. Sufficient heat

  • stops the leaves from oxidizing, allowing them to maintain their green color.

  • Leaves that are going to be used for black tea are allowed to ferment, or oxidize, completely.

  • The general process here is to roll, tear, or crush the leaves to help along the oxidation

  • process (similar to why the inside of an apple turns brown when you expose it to air). The

  • leaves are then dried out, sometimes in the Sun or otherwise using machines. As the leaves

  • oxidize, they gradually turn from green to black.

  • Other common types of tea include white and oolong. Oolong is initially generally processed

  • in the same way as black tea, but isn’t allowed to oxidize for as long. Once the desired

  • oxidation level has been reached, which varies quite a bit by type and manufacturer (some

  • oolong tea is closer to green tea, while others is closer to black in oxidation levels), the

  • leaves are fired similar to green tea to stop the oxidation process at that point.

  • White tea is made by picking the leaves and buds early in the year while the bud is still

  • closed. From here, the leaves may be placed out to dry in the Sun or may be dried out

  • in some other fashion, in either case attempting to minimize oxidation during this process.

What's the Difference Between Green and Black Tea

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