Difference Between Green, Black, Oolong, and Matcha Tea


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The Waka Life Blog

Difference Between Green, Black, Oolong, and Matcha Tea

There are so many teas to choose from, but what is the difference between all the types? Let's explore.

what is the difference between types of tea

Let's start from how all these teas are similar: Although green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and matcha tea may seem completely different in terms of color, form, and taste, they all come from the same camellia sinensis plant. The biggest difference between these four teas is how they are processed and produced from the plant’s leaves.

Green Tea

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Green tea leaves are made by non fermented tea leaves. Right after the leaves are plucked from the camellia sinensis plant, oxidation or fermentation is prevented by either drying the leaves through pan firing, oven drying, or steamed. The natural green color of the leaves is retained and the tea has a lighter and grassier taste than the other three teas. The tea leaves produce is yellowish-green and is also light in color.



  • Contains fluoride

Black Tea

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This type of tea is made with fully fermented tea leaves. Once the leaves are plucked, they are left to wither, then rolled up and crushed. This process of crushing the leaves activates the oxidation process and then the leaves are left alone to turn black in color. They are then pan-fried or oven-dried to stop the fermentation process. Black tea produces a reddish brown to darker brown colored liquid and has a stronger, more defined taste compared to green tea and oolong tea.



  • Higher in caffeine content compared to green tea and oolong tea

Oolong Tea

what is oolong tea and how to make it

Oolong tea is made with partially fermented tea leaves. The tea leaves are plucked, left to wither, and rolled by hand. They are then pan-fried to stop the oxidation. Because this tea is only partially fermented, it can be seen as in between green and black tea. Oolong tea can be seen as a good balance of the lighter tastes of green tea and the stronger flavors of black tea. However, it can have a wide range of flavors depending on the region it is produced and percentage of oxidation of the tea leaves. A higher percentage of oxidation can created a stronger and richer taste, while a lower percentage can create a tea with more floral flavors.


  • Can help strengthen bones, prevent cancer, lower blood sugar, and help the heart


  • Contains fluoride

Matcha Tea

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Matcha tea is the most different compared to the first three we talked about. This is because while green, black, and oolong tea are mostly found as dried tea leaves, matcha is a type of powdered tea. However, it is a type of green tea and like the other three, is made from the camellia sinensis plant. As it is a type of green tea, it is also made with non oxidized leaves. Matcha tea is made from shade grown leaves and has a different production process compared to the other three teas. After the leaves are plucked, they are then rolled, and dried in the shade or indoors. After the leaves are dried, they are then grounded into a fine powder through a stone mill. This fine powder is a bright green color and is dissolvable in water.



  • Higher quality matcha is more expensive

Which Tea is Better For You?

As all four types of tea come from the same plant, they all contain many similar claimed benefits for the body without many disadvantages. These benefits include containing antioxidants, helping the heart, lowering blood pressure, regulating sugar, strengthen bones, and many more. Because of this, the tea that is best for you is up to personal preference! For instance, if your body is sensitive to caffeine, green tea might be the best option for you. However, if you like a good caffeine kick, black tea or matcha tea would be great for you. If you like a balance of flavors and caffeine, then oolong tea is the way to go!

If you’re not sure which tea you’ll like, don’t be afraid to experiment and taste test to see which one you’ll like best. As there are many variations of these four categories of teas, you’ll definitely be able to find one you’ll like! Feel free to try quality instant tea as well, which can give you all the benefits of tea in your exact flavor preference. Instant tea would be also the best way to make iced tea. 

Which Tea Has More Caffeine?

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In terms of green tea, oolong tea, and black tea, the amount of caffeine is dependent upon how oxidized or fermented the teas are. This means green tea will have the least and black tea, being fully fermented, has the most. However, unlike all the other three teas, matcha is made with ground up whole tea leaves, which means once dissolved in water, the properties of caffeine is retained. So matcha tea would have the most caffeine out of all the teas we discussed. The caffeine content in matcha is also dependent on how it is produced, with higher quality (ceremonial grade) matcha containing more caffeine than lower grades.

  • Green tea: 20-30 mg/8 oz.
  • Oolong tea: 30-50 mg/8 oz.
  • Black tea:  40-60 mg/8 oz.
  • Matcha tea: 34-68 mg/8 oz.

Tea drinking is a ceremony. It requires you to take your time and enjoy this beloved drink sip after sip. No matter what tea you choose, we are sure you will enjoy the experience. While there are many claimed health benefits to tea drinking, it is also important to note that these are all still in research and you can't based your opinion solely on these claims.

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