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Green Vs Black, A Common Misconception

21 July 2014

There’s a common misconception that green tea contains less caffeine than black with many health conscious consumers selecting a cup of green as part of their efforts to reduce their caffeine intake.

As always with natural products the way is not clear cut. Black tea is generally made from Camelia Sinensis Assamica, whilst green from Camelia Sinensis Sinensis, the different varieties have different properties and Camelia Sinensis Assamica has naturally occurring higher levels of polypenols and caffeine. However in Kenya most green teas are made from the same Camelia Sinensis Assamica as are black, so have in general slightly higher level of caffeine than Asian varieties, but black and green are on par.

These fundamental differences in caffeine levels in the bushes are compounded by human intervention, with the more you pluck and process the leaves the less caffeine is available for absorption, so the coarser the leaf the lower the caffeine. Black involves more processing so offers less caffeine than the green.

But this matter is confused to the consumer as most green teabags in the UK tend to be 2grams rather than the 2.5grams with black. So the caffeine levels are lower but only through a reduced volume rather than true comparison.

Finally there is the variation of brew time, with the longer you brew the more caffeine that diffuses into the liquor, so human intervention again plays a crucial part in the differences in caffeine levels in both green and black tea.

Whilst its important to note that at Williamson Tea we are farmers and neither doctors nor scientists so cannot comment on personal caffeine consumption, Jenna Zoe of “Food’s to Love” recently commented that “if you are someone who derives a lot of pleasure out of tea, the benefit could outweigh any slight negatives so tea has a net positive impact on overall wellbeing”.

So go on and have a feel good brew!

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