Tea is quickly becoming more and more popular, but it can be hard to navigate between all of the types, flavors, infusions, etc. No need to fret! Let’s start with two of the most common types of tea, green tea and white tea. These types of tea seem to be popping up anywhere with a selection of brewing options, so what's all the fuss about? What's the difference between white vs green tea?

At first, they aren’t different at all. White and green teas come from the exact same plant, Camellia Sinensis. However, harvesting techniques and timing makes a world of a difference in the final product. White tea is harvested earlier in the growth process and treated with more care throughout the steaming and drying process.  There is also a smaller window of time in which the tea can be harvested in order to be considered a white tea.

Subtle flavor differences can also be explained by the regions the two teas tend to grow in. Most green teas are grown in China’s West Lake region while white teas are typically grown in the Fujian province.

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Courtney Claassen

Because of the drastic difference in processing, the final products of white and green teas are quite different on a chemical level. White teas are dried in direct sunlight and never steamed, but green tea is steamed or pan-fried and then dried to prevent oxidation. This difference is key in how the two categories are distinguished by colors. White tea gets its name from the small hairs that cover the leaves’ surfaces and remain throughout the drying process. A majority of these hairs come off in the drying process so leaves lose their white-ish appearance and look greener.

If you're searching for a kick of energy in your morning tea, green tea is probably the way to go. Although it can get a little tricky because there are some white teas that are higher in caffeine than others, green tea on average still has more. It's this higher caffeine concentration that gives green tea tons of buzz in the age-old weight loss conversation. No, 8 ounces of green tea in the morning won’t have you shedding pounds, but the nutrients provided in your green little cup can aid in achieving long-term health goals.

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Meredith Simmons

The two teas also taste quite different. White tea is commonly characterized by its softer and subtler notes. Green tea, on the other hand, has a much more recognizable flavor. Green tea is often described as being floral, sweet, and even slightly bitter. Ever wondered why green tea ice cream, cookies, cheesecake, and even green tea Kit Kats are super popular when there isn't a corresponding white tea flavor? In search of a job? Nail down how to make something "white tea flavored," and you'll be set!

Ultimately, the only difference that truly counts is how you feel about each type, so be adventurous and order something different the next time you see it on a tea list. Happy sipping!