Tea Blog

Oxidation Levels in Different Types of Tea

Abi Cowell
Posted on
January 18, 2023

Oxidation is a biochemical, enzymatic activity that happens during the tea production process. Different types of tea have different levels of oxidation. This contributes to their appearance and flavor profiles.

In white tea, a slight spontaneous oxidation occurs (8-15%).

Green and yellow teas have no oxidation.

Oolong tea experiences partial oxidation, controlled by a tea master (range is 15-80%).

Black tea is fully oxidized, controlled by a tea master.

Puerh is always fermented, not always oxidized. Two broad styles of producing puerh tea exist.

  1. Sheng Puerh – “raw” or “green” puerh with no controlled oxidation, though minimal spontaneous oxidation may occur.
  2. Shou Puerh – “ripe” or “black” puerh where controlled oxidation is integral to the accelerated aging process.

Levels of Oxidation

  • White tea: 8-15% oxidized
  • Green and yellow tea: 0% oxidized
  • Oolong tea: 15-80% oxidized
  • Black tea: 100% oxidized
  • Sheng Puerh: 0-5% oxidized
  • Shou Puerh: 100% oxidized


This content has been adapted from the book Your Path of Tea for Health of Body, Mind and Spirit by the late Thia McKann, Tea Master and Owner of The Path of Tea.

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