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These categories value and encourage oxidation. The whole idea of encouraging oxidation in tea began in the 1400’s and has exploded since then. After pluck, leaves are allowed to sit and soften before being rolled. This rolling process causes the leaves’ veins to burst, releasing sugars, oils, and juices. Then the leaf starts bruising, and getting darker, as it absorbs these juices. Once the tea reaches its desired degree of oxidation, the leaves are roasted to caramelize the sugars and dehydrate the leaves.


Puerh is the trickiest category in the world of tea. In order for a tea to be properly called a puerh tea, it must have a few qualifications. It must be plucked from a tea tree (of the assamica subspecies). This tree must come from a seed, and can not be a clone. The tree should be at the very least about 60 to 70 years old. The older the tree, the deeper the roots. The deeper the roots, the more minerals find their way into the sweet, tender leaves at the tips of the branches. And finally, this tea tree must be in the Yunnan Province of Southwestern China, where the practice of making and drinking this tea originates. 


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