Pause and relax with Pu-erh tea.

Pu-erh tea (also known as Pu’erh tea) is a fermented black tea from the Chinese province of Yunnan, distinguishable for its red liquor and earthy flavour. The earliest iterations saw this unique tea compressed into bricks and wrapped in various materials to make it easier to transport.

Today, however, this special tea comes in many shapes and sizes! There are loose leaf, tuo cha (tea cakes) and bird’s nest (dome-shaped) as well as tea brick varieties.

There are also now two different fermentation processes merchants use to create this tea. There’s the raw (sheng) traditional fermentation process and the ripe (shou) process. The latter is an accelerated fermentation technique discovered by Yunnan tea merchants in the 1970s.

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Pu-erh Tea

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What is pu-erh (pu’erh) tea?

Pu-erh tea (also written as pu’erh, pu’er, and Pu-Erh tea) is the most mature of teas—literally. Hailing from the Yunnan province in China, pu-erh is truly unique in that it undergoes a fermentation process that’s more dynamic than other aged teas like oolong.

Pu-erh tea leaves are plucked from the camellia sinensis plant and then tossed by hand in giant woks for a duration that, while staving off the tea leaves oxidisation process, does not deprive the leaves of moisture and good bacteria. Like other classic teas, pu-erh is left to dry in the sun. Unlike other teas, however, pu-erh is then compressed and stored to age for what could be years or even decades! This gives the good bacteria in the leaves time to microbially transform into a whole new tea that’s mellow and smooth to drink. Pu-erh made in this traditional fashion is known as raw (sheng) pu-erh and can be aged for up to fifty years.

There is one other, more recently discovered way to create pu-erh known as the ripe (shou) method. Innovated by Yunnan tea merchants in the 1970s, the ripe method accelerates the fermentation of the tea leaves, producing a pu-erh that tastes like it's been aged for 10-15 years, in just a matter of months! They do this via a fermentation process called "artificial pile fermentation" or simply "wet piling". In this process, the tea leaves are piled up, misted with water, and left covered in a hemp cloth for 60-70 days. During that time, tea masters carefully control humidity and heat in the pu-erh's environment to ensure that it ages just like natural pu-erh would...albeit quicker. After the 60-70 days are up, the pu-erh is then compressed or packaged up to be sold OR aged for longer. Ripe pu-erh has the ability to age, which a tea merchant can do if they want to add more nuanced tasting notes and flavours to the pu-erh. However, it's generally agreed that the flavour of ripe pu-erh plateaus after twenty years, which is why you'll generally never find a shou pu-erh that's older than that.

Often packed into bricks or teacakes, pu-erh tea has been historically consumed after meals as an aid to digestion, weight loss and promotion of a healthy gut biome. For a traditional experience, try our loose leaf pu-erh tea or try one of our flavoured mini teacakes (tuo cha).

As you have seen here, we offer an array of beautiful premium pu-erh tea for you to enjoy.


What are the health benefits of pu-erh tea?

There are many benefits to drinking pu-erh tea beyond the satisfying taste. Pu-erh tea is great for improving cholesterol and therefore is thought to aid weight loss. It’s also fantastic at boosting healthy liver function and potentially inhibiting certain cancers, which is why it’s well worth adding pu-erh to your tea selection at home.

Consider pouring a cup of pu-erh tea the next time you want to relax and unwind during some well-deserved “me” time. Enjoy the soothing aromas and elegant flavours of freshly brewed pu-erh tea even during summer when you could whip up an iced tea batch to cool down with style.


Buy pu-erh tea online or in-store at The Tea Centre tea shops

Here at The Tea Centre, we pride ourselves on the elite quality of our pu-erh tea and work hard to make them luxurious and thoroughly enjoyable. You will notice that our pu-erh teas are beautifully fragrant and enticing, with elements of earthiness, lemongrass and smokiness in different teas across our range. It’s all part of our plan to provide you with the finest teas possible.

Making a pot or cup of pu-erh tea with loose leaves is not as hard as it sounds, with easy-to-use infusers and strainers available. However, if you are looking for a quicker alternative, we do also offer a range of teas in biodegradable pyramid tea bags, including black tea bags, green tea bags and herbal tea bags.

Interested in other teas? Look through our selections of black teas, green teas, and herbal teas to find the ones that are right for you.