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Fermentation

Fermentation occurs when microbial activity breaks down compounds in the leaf as a result of enzymatic oxidation. Non- or lightly-fermented teas retain their original green, fresh flavor, and fully-fermented teas are dark red, often with malty flavors. Post-fermented teas are allowed to ferment a second time and aged, often for many years. These Pu'erh teas have rich, complex, and earthy flavors and may go through heaping, a process of stacking up the leaves inside a humid, warm environment that stimulates chemical changes inside the leaves.