I have been suffering from stress induced digestive issues and acid reflux since 2013. I was introduced to pu-erh tea in 2020 as a way to help heal my stomach. Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea from Yunnan, China made from the Dayeh, large leaf tea tree. The fermentation of the tea leaves creates beneficial bacteria that helps with digestion, the spleen, and other health issues.
Pu-erh tea is known by several other names pu’er, puer, po lei, bolay, black tea. Pu-erh is available in green or black tea with the black having a higher level of beneficials. Pu-erh tea comes in loose leaf, tea bags, and cakes. The cakes can be formed into small shapes or balls to be dropped into a tea cup or pot. The cakes can also be large wheels of tea which are wrapped in paper, to make tea a small bit is chipped off.
There are two ways pu-erh tea is processed, Sheng and Shou.
Sheng pu-erh (raw tea) is the traditional of making the tea which is made from the minimally processed leaves of the large-leaf Yunnan tea tree, and then carefully aged under supervised conditions before it is consumed. The sheng style of pu-erh is often aged for 15 or 20 years and can be aged for much longer for a deeper, richer, smoother, more complex flavor.
Shou pu-erh (ripe tea) is a more modern faster way of making the tea which involves the application of heat and moisture, as well as the inoculation of the tea leaves with beneficial bacteria. It takes about a year for harvested tea leaves to become ‘ripened‘ or ‘finished’ pu-erh. Some ‘ripened’ pu-erhs are also aged for a flavor more similar to traditionally produced pu -erh.
No matter if you buy Sheng or Shou pu-erh tea ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC! If it doesn’t say organic you must rinse the tea first then brew to remove any pesticides used during growing.
I began drinking pu-erh tea in mid August 2020 at least one tea pot a day. I enjoy drinking pu-erh tea through out the day. I purchased tea bags for my first experience with pu-erh tea. Each tea bag can be used 2-3 times. When the tea gets weak looking I change the bags. Pu-erh tea is low in tannins so it is very mild in flavor and is enjoyable to drink hot or cold. Depending on how the tea is processed it may have a strong flavor, mild flavor, or even a smokey flavor. The tea seller will usually describe the flavor. Rinsing the tea in hot water three times for 30 seconds each, then brew in hot water for 2-3 minutes can help to make the flavor even more mild. There is 60-70 mg caffeine per cup compared to coffee which has about 105 mg caffeine per cup. I was hoping to replace my daily one morning energy drink with this tea but I do not notice any energizing effects of pu-erh tea and drink it in the evening without feeling jittery or amped up. I noticed it is especially good to drink with dinner or greasy foods, it helps with digestion. I do not drink alcohol but I have heard it is known to be good for hangovers.
Studies of beneficial effects of pu-erh tea show that some people experience a reduction in blood pressure, weight loss, lower cholesterol, and increased metabolism. Pu-erh tea has oxidative properties which enhances circulation and blood flow and reduces free radicals. Drinking pu-erh tea helps in the production of lovastatin, higher HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which are all helpful in the prevention of heart disease. Polyphenols in pu-erh tea can help to develop higher bone mass and greater bone strength. The polyphenols in pu-erh tea also contain antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that help to minimize pain. Pu-erh tea contains the phyto-chemicals GABA and theanine, which have been attributed to lower stress levels. These phyto-chemicals increase the production of melatonin, which can aid in better sleep and a calmer demeanor throughout the day.
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