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History of Pu'er Tea

pu'er tea
puer tea and tea leaves

Pu'er Tea is aged, which gives it a unique flavor that no other tea has. It may result in a bold taste that can be smooth, grassy, fruity, malty, herbal and peaty. This tea ages like fine wine and may keep its freshness up to fifty years.

How Is Pu'er Tea Made

Pu'er tea originates from the Yunnan province of China and is actually named after the market town that it first developed in. In the Far East part of the world, it is known as black tea. Pu'er tea goes through a unique process of oxidation and fermentation even after the leaves have been dried and rolled, which causes the leaves to darken even more.


Like all teas, Pu'er teas are made from the camellia sinensis plant but is actually from a larger leaf strain called Dayeh, which are trees with mature leaves that are known to be ancient and between 500 and 1000 years old. The trees are typically from temperate regions and the best time to harvest these trees is in mid-spring, although, you can technically harvest year round.

You’ll see many health benefits because of the fermentation process, including cholesterol reduction, helps digestion, stress relief, weight-loss, fights cancer, allows us to become more alert as well as many others. If you’re looking for the strongest tea in comparison to coffee, pu'er is the way to go!

tea leaves

Pu-erh teas are said to be regarded as highly prized because of all of the multitude of health benefits that are described above and is highly sought after all over the world in places such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan, which also means that it has become astonishingly priced across the globe. It is only a matter of time before this tea hits the mainstream population.

There are two classifications that are used to describe Pu-erh teas because of the amount of processing the occurs after the tea leaves have been picked and withered: raw (sheng) and cooked/ripe (shou).

Types of Pu'er Tea


With raw pu-erh, the process of the raw conversion is quite slow and is dependent upon the environmental conditions. This process takes at least a decade and the longer the leaves age, the more delicious the tea will taste. This fermentation process is the most important step and is called “Wo Dui” (moist track). 

After this step, the leaves are partially pan fired in order to halt the enzyme activity, followed by lightly kneading and rolling and then left to dry. You may notice pu-erh teas that are compressed into cakes or left in loose leaf form and either way is great!


Ripe pu'er tea has a different type of production process which is, fixing, sorting and then manually fermenting the leaves which causes a milder taste, however, it tends to be richer because of the manual rapid fermentation process which also eliminates the musty odor and shortens the aging time. With the ripe pu'er tea, the leaves are picked and withered and then mixed with a bacterial culture that was created to mimic and speed up the bacterial growth that happens during the natural fermentation process. 

Following this step, the leaves are left to fully oxidize for up to 40 days in a humid and hot environment before the firing begins. Like raw pu'er teas, the aroma of the ripe pu-erh tea will become smoother and richer with the time of aging. This technique of making ripe pu'er teas was developed in 1973 by the Yunnan Kunming tea factory to speed up the process of production.

Since the ripe pu'er teas was established, a new method has been crafted. This method is called the half-cooked method. Basically in short, it is a mixture of raw and cooked leaves that have been smoke-steamed and pressed.

Guy holding pu
Raw puer tea

Caffeine Content of Pu'er Tea

Even though all tea varieties are derived from the Camillia sinensis plant, the levels of caffeine in the various types of tea are quite different. While less attention is given to the caffeine levels within delectably multifaceted teas like pu-erh teas, however, they are one of the most complex teas in determining the caffeine content because of the fermentation and aging process.

Being a fermented tea, the older the tea, the better the flavor, however, the more established the tea is, the less caffeine it holds. In essence, the raw process yields less caffeine than the ripe process. Whether the pu-erh is black vs. green matters as well, because as we have learned, black tea contains more caffeine than green tea. 

You can expect a black fermented tea to yield 60-70mg of caffeine per 8oz cup, which, is the equivalent to black tea. Green/Young Pu-erh tea yields roughly 30-45mg of caffeine per 8oz cup.

Our Best Sellers

Here at Grey and Bash Teas, you can find a large selection of delicious organic and non-organicPu'er Tea Options. Pu'er has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is known for its health benefits, including the potential to lower bad cholesterol, help prevent diabetes, promote digestion, and help lose weight.

iced green tea

Black Walnut Pu'er

A coffee lovers dream! Our Black Walnut Pu'er has quickly become a fan favorite and sells out almost weekly.

You can find a Pink peppercorn Pu'er tea with cacao, pistachio, pecan and walnuts. This tea makes for a delicious latte and stands up perfectly to cream!

Berry Truffle Pu'er

Our organic loose leaf Pu'er is blended and flavored with cranberries, elderberries and cacao. This tea may even lower your cholesterol. One of our favorite ways to enjoy this Pu'er is with a dash of milk (you can thank us later)!

Emperor's Pu'er

The name of this tea is very fitting as it is a regal blend of loose-leaf organic Pu'er, organic ginger root and citrus. This stately tea is fit for an emperor. Our Emperor’s Pu'er brews strong and bold and it can be brewed multiple times.

USDA certified


Butter Pecan Pu'er

Our Butter Pecan is so appetizing that you won't even realize your sipping on tea!

Organic loose leaf Pu'er with natural flavors.