I wrote about pu-erh in this challenge already a few times, but I did not touch upon its health benefits significantly. In China, I was surprised to see how common to drink dark teas (not only pu-erh) for health benefits including weight loss. Usually, weight loss is associated with green tea. The reason for this there is tons of research on the benefits of green tea. Research on pu-erh is limited however existing ones already tell us a lot.
Pu-erh tea’s benefits have been shown on animal models including reducing blood lipids, lowering blood pressure, suppression of body weight and antidiabetic and antioxidant properties according to several pieces of research (Oi et al ., 2012; Hou et al. 2009; Lv et al. 2015; Chantre and Lairon, 2002; Diepvens et al ., 2006). Another study from 2005 (Kuo et al.) found that pu-erh’s effect on weight reduction is stronger than green teas. More recently, Yang et al. (2014) found that intake of Puerh tea for 3 months was associated with a slight reduction in body weight, especially in male patients.
In light of these scientific experiences, weight-loss seems to be a good reason for drinking pu-erh but it’s secondary to why I drink it. I do like it.
This tea from the 2003 harvest was a good example of shu pu-erh. Sipping it felt like I was inhaling the air in a library full of old books. Do you know what I mean?
Origin: Bohai, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan
Harvest time: 2003
Leave colour: Shades of dark brown and maroon
Liquor colour: Clear, dark amber
Tea aroma: Earthy with hints of wood
Tea taste: Mellow and stable earthy notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: 10 years and more (to improve shelf-life store the tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)