Both black and green tea have health benefits.
As Jeffrey Blumberg, professor of nutrition at Tufts University says, "When you've been around 5,000 years, lots of stories get built up." Below, some clarification on what has become the murky world of tea research and consumerism.
Four Teas: One Plant
White tea, green, oolong and black teas all come from the same plant: Carmellia sinensis. The type of tea is determined by how the leaves are processed, how much fermentation, or oxidation, they go through. Whereas green and white teas are non-oxidized, oolong is partially oxidized, and black tea is fully oxidized.
Red Tea Reality Check
Red tea, as it is referred in the West, is not a tea! It is a tisane, an herbal infusion, from an entirely different plant. Red tea comes from a South African flowering shrub called a rooibos plant, and is mild in flavor. Often other ingredients, such as cinnamon or vanilla, are added to it. In Asia, red tea can also refer to oolong tea.
Green with envy?
Though black and green tea are chemically dissimilar, research hasn't proven that one type of tea is better for your health than the other. In fact, says Professor Joe Vinson at the University of Scranton, "Nobody has compared green and black tea, except in animals."
Bottle Your Antioxidants
If you are interested in getting caffeine, get it with antioxidants, Vinson, says. He recommends bottled tea, even if it has sugar, over soda because of the added antioxidants in tea.
Sources: NPR reports and Professor Joe Vinson of University of Scranton, Donna Fellman of Specialty Tea Institute, Professor Jeffrey Blumberg, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University