Oxidation- What is it and what does it have to do with tea?
It can be seen when certain fruits and vegetables turn brown after having been cut open. This includes potatoes, bananas, apples, and avocados. But what is oxidation in relation to tea?
Oxidation (often incorrectly referred to as fermentation) is a chemical process whereby the compounds in the cells of tea leaves are exposed to oxygen in the atmosphere during rolling of tea leaves. Oxidation creates the flavor and aroma. White tea is light and delicate - Puerh is dark, strong and bolder. Not only are the flavor and aroma of tea affected by oxidation, the oxidation of tea creates the darker color of highly oxidized teas as you can see in the photo below. The oxidation level goes up from left to right with white tea being the least oxidized and the puerh is the most oxidized.