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How to Brew Pu Erh Tea

Jun 05,2024 | TeaTsy Team

Before learning how to brew pu erh tea, you must first understand that there is no fixed recipe for brewing a perfect cup of pu erh tea. The quality of a cup of tea depends on many factors, such as the amount of the tea leaves, the water temperature, etc.

Read on, in this article, we will take you through the basics of puerh tea, and how to brew Puerh tea using the grandpa method, Gongfu tea style, tea bags, and Western teapots.

What is Pu Erh Tea? 

Pu erh tea originates from Yunnan Province in China. Microbial fermentation occurs after the tea leaves are dried, which produces a rich flavor. There are two main types of Pu erh tea: raw tea and cooked tea. Raw tea is naturally aged, while cooked tea undergoes accelerated fermentation. Both types of tea develop a rich flavor over time.

Pu'er Tea

Read more: The top 8 health benefits of drinking tea.

Benefits of Pu Erh Tea  

Pu-erh tea not only has a unique taste but also possesses a variety of health benefits. The following are the four main benefits of Pu-erh tea.

Aids Digestion

Pu erh tea actively aids digestion by stimulating the production of gastric juice and enzymes, promoting the breakdown of food for better absorption of nutrients.

Promotes Weight Loss

Regular drinking of Pu'er tea can promote metabolism, enhance fat burning, and promote weight loss.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Regular consumption of Pu erh tea can lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, thereby promoting heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Supports Intestinal Health

The probiotics and beneficial bacteria in Pu erh tea promote a healthy intestinal microbiome, enhancing digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gastrointestinal health.

Do You Add Milk to Pu Erh Tea?

In Chinese tea drinking culture, Puer tea is usually brewed without milk or sugar. Because Puer tea has a strong earthy flavor, it is usually drunk on its own without adding milk or sugar. However, the British usually add milk or sugar to their tea. So, if you like Puer tea with milk or sugar, feel free to try it and see if it suits your taste.

How to Brew Pu Erh Tea: 4 Way

In fact, there are no fixed rules for brewing Puerh tea, the key is to adjust according to personal taste, tea utensils, and time. Whether it is bagged tea, loose tea, or compressed pu-erh tea cakes, different forms of pu-erh tea have different brewing methods.

The following will introduce the Western tea brewing method, the grandpa style brewing method, and the traditional Chinese Gong Fu tea method. If you prefer iced tea, you can also refer to our: How to Make Iced Tea guide.

Brewing Pu-erh Gaiwan Style(Gong Fu Tea method)

A Gaiwan is a traditional Chinese tea set consisting of a bowl, lid, and tray for brewing various types of tea. It is often used for the Gong Fu Tea Ceremony, which is a Chinese tea ceremony that emphasizes brewing techniques and rituals. We call it Gongfu Tea.

Step 1: Preheat the Gaiwan

First, rinse the Gaiwan with hot water, cover it with a lid, and wait a few seconds for it to preheat. Then pour out the hot water.

Step 2: Weigh the Tea Leaves

Take an appropriate amount of Pu'er tea and add it to the preheated gaiwan. The recommended ratio is about 2-3 grams of tea leaves per 100 ml of water.

Step 3: Rinse the Tea Leaves

Pour the hot water over the tea leaves in the Gaiwan, let them soak for 2-3 seconds, and then pour the water out using a strainer. Rinsing the tea can wake up the tea leaves and remove any impurities.

Gaiwan tea cup

Step 4: Soak

Pour the hot water into the Gaiwan again, cover it with a lid, and let the tea soak for about 10-20 seconds. Of course, you can also adjust the time appropriately according to your taste preferences and the type of Pu'er tea used.

Step 5: Enjoy

Pour the brewed tea into a teapot or teacup. Pay attention to pouring the tea evenly during the pouring process to ensure that the taste of the tea is consistent.

How to Brew Puerh Tea With Tea Sachets(Tea Bags)

If you plan to use tea bags to brew Pu'er tea, you will need an electric kettle or pot to boil water.

Step 1: Boil Water

First, you need to use an electric kettle or pot to boil water. For Pu'er tea, the temperature is usually between 200°F and 212°F (93°C and 100°C). If you don't have a thermometer, boil the water until it is completely boiling.

Step 2: Preheat the Teapot or Cups

Pour the boiling water into the teapot or cup and swirl it for 2-3 seconds before pouring out the water.

Step 3: Add the Tea Bag

Place the Pu'er tea bag in the warm teapot or cup.

Step 4: Pour the Water

Pour the hot water over the tea bag, making sure it is completely submerged. This allows the tea leaves to expand and release their flavor.

Step 5: Steep

It is recommended to steep the tea for 3 to 5 minutes. Of course, you can adjust the time appropriately according to the strength of your tea you like. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the flavor of the tea.

Step 6: Enjoy

After steeping, carefully remove the tea bag from the teapot or cup. Avoid squeezing the tea bag as this releases the bitter flavor. Then enjoy.

How to Brew Pu'er Tea in a Western Teapot

Here are the things you need to prepare and the steps to brew Pu'er tea with a Western teapot:

Tools needed

  • Pu'er tea
  • Western teapot
  • Electric kettle
  • Tea strainer

Step 1: Boil Water

Heat the water to the optimal temperature. For Puerh tea, 95°C (203°F) works best.

Step 2: Prepare the Tea Leaves

If you are using a Puerh cake, break off a small piece, usually about 5 grams. For loose leaf Puerh tea, measure out about 5 grams.

Step 3: Warm the Teapot

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it for 2-4 seconds before pouring out the water.

Step 4: Add

Pour the Puerh tea directly into the teapot, or strain it through a tea strainer if you prefer a cleaner brew.

Step 5: Steep the Tea

Pour the hot water over the tea leaves in the teapot and let them steep for about 2-5 minutes. You can also taste them every 30 seconds to help you find the right taste for you.

Step 6: Enjoy

Pour the tea into the cup, remembering to pour a small amount of tea each time and swirl the cup to ensure an even concentration of tea.

Grandpa Method

The grandpa method is the easiest way to make tea, and it is a simple, casual method that is perfect for everyday use. In the West, we call it the "grandpa method" because the older generation used to make tea in this casual way.

Tools needed

  • A large cup or glass
  • 3-5 grams of tea leaves (adjust to taste)
  • Hot water at 100°C

Step1. Place 3-5 grams of tea leaves into a large cup or glass.

Step2. Pour in 100°C hot water until the cup is full.

Step3. Mugs or glasses should be filled to the 8/10 mark so that when the tea becomes too strong, water can be added to temper the flavor.

Brew Pu Erh Tea

Step4. Glasses are ideal for grandpa style tea making because you can better see the color of the tea broth and get an idea of the current strength.

If a very long glass is used, the flavor of the tea may be stronger at the bottom than at the top. In this case, it is best to fill the glass only halfway and then add a little hot water as you drink, stirring to even out the tea broth and make the flavor uniform.

There is no set steeping time for grandpa style brewing, you can always take small sips and start drinking when the tea flavor is strong enough. If the tea becomes too bitter, simply add more hot water. When 2/3 of the tea in the cup is gone, it's usually time to refill it with hot water.


How Long to Steep Pu Erh?

We recommend 5 grams of tea with 350ml of water. With such 'leaf-to-water' ratio, you get about 3-5 sessions out of a single 5 gram portion of pu erh tea. Apply a 2-3 minute brewing time. For each subsequent infusion, you increase the time by 1 more minute.

How Many Times Can You Brew Pu-Erh?

Another difference between Pu-erh tea and other teas is that most teas can be steeped only 2-3 infusions before losing flavor, Pu-erh tea can be steeped (using a small gaiwan or Yixing pot) at least 10-15 times.

Can You Drink Puer Tea Every Day?

Pu-erh tea extract is also possibly safe when used for up to 12 weeks. Drinking more than 4 cups of pu-erh tea daily is possibly unsafe. Drinking large amounts might cause side effects due to the caffeine content. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache and irregular heartbeat.

Can I Drink Pu-Erh Tea at Night?

Pu'er tea has raw tea and ripe(cooked) tea. Among them, the tea polyphenols in raw tea are higher, which may cause insomnia after drinking. It is best not to drink tea two hours before bedtime, especially new tea. Fresh tea is too irritating, and drinking new Pu'er tea will make people excited and affect sleep.

Final Thoughts

We hope that through this guide, you will be able to visualize the process of brewing Puerh tea. Practice is the best way to learn, and the real beauty of understanding Puerh tea lies in hands-on practice. We hope that under the guidance of this article, you will soon master the art of brewing Pu-erh tea and enjoy the flavor it brings. For more tea articles, please check here.