There’s been a considerable buzz about the health benefits associated with the regular drinking of green tea for a while now. High in antioxidants, it’s been proven to help treat, fight, and prevent a wide variety of known ailments including arthritis, thrombosis, high cholesterol, premature aging, and even cancer. However, in recent years, we’ve been hearing similarly great things about the wonders of white tea as well. So which one is better than the other, and which one will better meet your personal needs? Let’s take a look at how white tea and green tea stack up against each other and find out.

As far as the origins of each of the teas, they actually both come from the same plant – camellia sinensus. The differences between the two come into play in relation to when they are harvested, as well as the way they are each processed. White tea consists of very young buds and leaves while the leaves found in green tea are mature. Both types of tea undergo a minimum of processing, but white tea is fast-dried and not fermented at all, while green tea is either roasted or partially fermented, although not to the degree that other teas are (like oolong and black tea). The low level of processing involved in the creation of both teas is what makes it possible for both of them to retain their natural health benefits to such a high degree.

When it comes to the antioxidant level in each of the teas, studies have shown that white tea typically contains a much higher concentration than green tea does – up to three times higher, in fact. This is due to the fact that although green tea undergoes minimal processing, white tea goes through almost none, allowing it to retain such high levels of antioxidants, and for most white tea enthusiasts, the higher level of antioxidants is usually the main reason for choosing it.

When it comes to caffeine levels, white tea generally contains a slightly lower amount than green tea does because it is harvested while it is still quite young. For those watching their intake of caffeine, or who have trouble with problems such as insomnia, white tea may be a better choice for this reason. However, it is also important to note that caffeine levels will further vary depending on the specific variety of the tea in question.

Both green and white teas are also notable for their natural antiviral and antibacterial properties. They’ve been known to help fight and alleviate the symptoms of many bacteria or virus related ailments including the common cold, the flu, and even some of the symptoms associated with HIV and AIDS. However, white tea is generally considered to be superior when it comes to this angle as well, and the reason once again is the minimum of processing it goes through, allowing the tea to retain more of its natural properties.

Another determining factor for some tea drinkers may be flavor or price. Since white tea is harvested during a very specific span of time in the spring and handled with kid gloves, it’s generally more expensive than green tea is. It is also milder in flavor, lighter in color, and lacking in the “grassy” quality that can be present in green tea and unpleasant to some palettes. However, many tea drinkers often find that they enjoy the flavors of both teas and will alternate between the two.