Is Pu'er Tea Oxidized?

 

In this episode I discuss how oxidation affects pu'er tea. What is the difference between spontaneous and intentional oxidation, and how does it affect the processing of raw and ripe pu'er tea?


What Is Spontaneous Oxidation?

Spontaneous oxidation is simply oxidation that occurs naturally, due to the natural and slow degradation of the leaf once it is plucked from the tree. Spontaneous oxidation occurs without input, whereas intentional oxidation involves bruising, shaking or rolling leaves to encourage an accelerated rate of oxidation.

Spontaneous oxidation occurs while leave wither before being made into pu’er tea.

Spontaneous oxidation occurs while leave wither before being made into pu’er tea.

Is Ripe Pu’er Tea Oxidized?

Because the wet-piling process, both microbial growth and oxidation are both rapidly accelerated. The conditions for a wet pile (hot and wet) necessitate the further degradation of the leaf and allow oxidation to occur at a much faster rate for the few weeks it undergoes this process. Therefore, ripe pu’er is heavily oxidized.