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10 Best Pu-erh Teas in 2022 (Tea Sommelier-Reviewed)

For avid tea drinkers who enjoy trying new drinks, give pu-erh tea a go! Different from common teas like green tea and black tea, pu-erh tea is fermented and has a rich taste with woodsy and earthy notes. It has many health benefits, too. Specifically, It can support your digestive health and reduce your cholesterol levels. However, there are many types of pu-erh tea, so how do you know which one fits your taste buds? 


To help you with your search, we've combed through the Internet and found the 10 pu-erh teas that are highly recommended by reviewers. SanRan's Aged Pu-erh Tea was our favorite, as it's aged for 12 years and has a deep, smooth, and full-bodied flavor. For more options, keep reading our top 10 list! And if you need some help with finding the best pu-erh tea for yourself, take a look at our buying guide, which was checked by a tea expert, and is full of helpful advice. 

Last updated 09/26/2023
Kate Hesser
Expert
Tea Sommelier
Kate Hesser

Kate Hesser is a certified tea sommelier, tea taster, blogger, and brand collaborator. She provides event and restaurant menu consulting, and personalized tasting experiences for in-home gatherings and office retreats. She believes every tea is made with pride and has something unique to show us!

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Table of Contents

What is Pu-erh Tea?

What is Pu-erh Tea?

Pu-erh tea is a type of fermented tea produced in the Chinese Yunnan province. The tea was first made during the Eastern Han Dynasty. It was the major tea for trading since it's fermented and could be stored for a long time. Nowadays, besides China, Asian countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam are also producing aged tea, but only tea grown in Yunnan can be called pu-erh tea. 


Pu-erh tea is made from the leaves of the assamica variety of the Camellia sinensis tea plant. The harvested leaves are dry-roasted, sun-dried, often compressed into a cake shape, and left to mature to increase the flavor. 


This tea is well-known for its rich taste with earthy and woodsy notes. However, keep in mind that pu-erh tea that isn't properly stored or fermented might develop a fishy smell.


There are many health benefits to this type of tea! Specifically, pu-erh tea is packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that can aid gut health and improve your digestive system. It also contains a high amount of flavonoids, antioxidants that can help with weight loss. Pu-erh tea can also reduce cholesterol levels and boost your energy.

How to Choose Pu-Erh Teas

The flavor of pu-erh tea depends on many factors, including the area of production, the leaf source, and the type of tea. Read on to learn everything you need to know about pu-erh tea!

1

Decide Between Raw and Ripened Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea can be categorized into two main types: raw and ripened. Although they are both delicious, they have different flavor characteristics. 

Raw Pu-erh Tea Tastes More Robust

Raw Pu-erh Tea Tastes More Robust

Raw pu-erh tea, also known as sheng cha, has a high amount of tannins and features a complex, full-bodied, and bold flavor. It has a color that's quite similar to green tea since it's technically made with green tea leaves that are dried in the sun. 


There are also two types of raw pu-erh tea: young and aged. Young raw pu-erh tea is fermented less than 10 years and boasts a slightly sweet and bitter flavor with grassy notes. On the other hand, aged raw pu-erh tea has been aged for more than 12 years. It's rich and full-bodied with earthy and woodsy undertones. 

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

A high-quality sheng pu'erh will create a cooling sensation in the throat and a pleasant, long-lasting finish in the mouth.

Ripened Pu-erh Tea Features a Woodsy, Earthy Flavor

Ripened Pu-erh Tea Features a Woodsy, Earthy Flavor

Ripened pu-erh tea, also known as shou cha, contains fewer tannins than the raw kind, thus producing a more mellow taste. It's also slightly sweet with woodsy and earthy undertones. 


Its malty and rich taste is quite similar to black tea! And if you're a coffee drinker, you might prefer ripened pu-erh tea since it produces a rich, dark brew. 

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

It is made through a more modern process of wet-piling the tea in large ovens, turning frequently. This speeds up the aging of the tea by creating a process not unlike a compost pile, resulting in a darker tea, with a thick, coffee-like liquor, that tastes of "forest floor."

2

Look For a Tea Sourced From Old Tea Trees

Look For a Tea Sourced From Old Tea Trees

When choosing a pu-erh tea, make sure to check its origin! Good pu-erh teas are usually grown at high altitudes in the Simao, Boshan, Lincang, or Xishuangbanna regions in Yunnan province, China. 


Also, pu-erh tea leaves can be picked from old arbor tea trees (also known as ancient tea trees), wild trees, and plantation bushes. For the best flavor, look for tea made from old arbor trees. Their leaves have the most antioxidants compared to other kinds and are less likely to be treated with fertilizers or pesticides. 


Leaves sourced from wild trees yield great flavor, too! Another plus point is that they are usually not sprayed with pesticides. On the other hand, tea leaves selected from plantation bushes might be grown using pesticides. 


Go for teas grown at a high altitude as well. To be considered as high-altitude tea, the leaves must be grown at elevations of at least 1,000 meters (approximately 3,300 feet). At a high altitude, the temperature is lower, and there's less sunshine. As a result, the tea becomes less astringent and bitter, and it also gains a more complex flavor.

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

In general, the more stress put on a tea tree - higher altitude with thinner atmosphere, rocky soil, the more nuanced the flavor.

3

Know the Differences Between Different Forms of Tea

Pu-erh tea comes in three different forms: loose leaf tea, tea bags, and compressed cakes. In order to choose the best tea, it's important to understand the differences between them! 

Compressed Tea Yields the Richest Flavor

Compressed Tea Yields the Richest Flavor

Since the aging process of aged raw and ripened pu-erh teas takes many years, farmers tend to compress the dried tea leaves into cakes or bricks for ease of transportation. It isn't difficult to brew compressed tea at all! Simply break a small piece off the cake and brew it, just like how you brew loose leaf tea. 


But keep in mind that it takes longer to brew compressed tea than loose leaf tea. To know the specific brewing time, make sure to read the instructions! 


Also, since the compressed leaves are not fully exposed to oxygen, their fermentation process occurs more slowly than loose leaf tea, which helps develop more flavor. Therefore, the flavor often becomes richer and more complex. So if you're a tea connoisseur looking for the best-tasting pu-erh tea, go for a compressed cake! 

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

Rinse compressed tea quickly with the boiled water before starting your brew. This wakes up and relaxes the leaves, allowing them to steep properly.

Loose Leaf Tea Allows for Faster Brewing

Loose Leaf Tea Allows for Faster Brewing

Young raw pu-erh teas don't take a long time to age and usually come in the form of loose leaf tea. Although loose leaf tea isn't as strong and complex as compressed tea, it's still flavorful and has a clean taste that's great if you don't like a super strong or musky cup of tea. 


Plus, loose leaf tea brews quicker than compressed tea! And loose leaf tea can produce better flavor than bagged tea. 

Tea Bags Are Convenient to Use

Tea Bags Are Convenient to Use

While brewing loose leaf tea or compressed tea requires equipment, you only need a mug and some hot water to brew bagged tea. It only takes one to two minutes to steep, too! On the other hand, with loose leaf tea, you have to measure and rinse the leaves and steep them for more than two minutes. 


Tea bags are usually individually wrapped and very convenient to bring with you. If you need a quick cup of pu-erh tea and don't have brewing equipment on hand, bagged tea is definitely the way to go! 

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10
Best Pu-Erh Teas Ranking

Here are the best Pu-Erh Teas, ranked according to 10 Best Pu-erh Teas (as of 11-04-2022). The products are ranked independently by mybest.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

SanRan

Aged Pu-erh Tea

SanRan Aged Pu-erh Tea 1枚目

Full-Bodied Tea Aged for 12 Years

2

Organic Positively Tea Company

Pu-erh Tea

Organic Positively Tea Company Pu-erh Tea  1枚目

Great for Those Who Haven't Tried Pu-Erh Tea Before

3

Prince of Peace

Premium Pu-erh Tea

Prince of Peace Premium Pu-erh Tea  1枚目

Individually Wrapped to Preserve Freshness

4

Numi

Chocolate Pu-erh

Numi Chocolate Pu-erh  1枚目

Indulge in Notes of Chocolate and Orange

5

Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh Tea Cake

Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh Tea Pu-erh Tea Cake  1枚目

Aromatic and Smooth Flavor Without Any Bitterness

6

Kiss Me Organics

Organic Pu-erh Tea

Kiss Me Organics Organic Pu-erh Tea 1枚目

Lab-Tested to Be Free From Harmful Chemicals

7

Jinglong Tea Factory

Pu-erh Mini Tea Cakes

Jinglong Tea Factory Pu-erh Mini Tea Cakes 1枚目

Mini Cakes That Make Two Rich Cups of Tea

8

iMoZai

Pu'erh Tea

iMoZai Pu'erh Tea 1枚目

Smooth and Earthy Organic Tea

9

Jinglong Tea Factory

Pu-erh Tea Original

Jinglong Tea Factory Pu-erh Tea Original  1枚目

A Strong Tea Cake From Menghai County in Yunnan

10

Tealyra

Ripe Pu-erh Tea

Tealyra  Ripe Pu-erh Tea  1枚目

Smooth, Mellow, and Slightly Sweet Tea

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

SanRanAged Pu-erh Tea

Aged Pu-erh Tea Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$9.99
Reference price
$9.99

Full-Bodied Tea Aged for 12 Years

These tea leaves were harvested from ancient trees located at high altitudes in the Yunnan province in China and molded into a cake in 2009. Thanks to the long fermentation time, this tea has a robust, earthy, and smooth flavor that will give you that needed pick-me-up. 


A few buyers are bothered by the tea's fishy smell, but others mention the smell quickly disappears and doesn't affect the flavor. Reviewers advise brewing the tea in a clay teapot and steep for about five minutes to get the right flavor. Overall, the majority are impressed with its slightly sweet, full-bodied taste with deep woodsy undertones. 

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No.2

Organic Positively Tea CompanyPu-erh Tea

Pu-erh Tea  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$22.95
Reference price
$22.95

Great for Those Who Haven't Tried Pu-Erh Tea Before

This ripened pu-erh tea by Organic Positively Tea Company has a distinctive mellow flavor with earthy notes. It's also certified organic by the USDA and is packed in a resealable bag to preserve freshness. To brew this loose leaf tea, steep the leaves in water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for about three minutes. 


Although it isn't as robust as other aged pu-erh teas, reviewers say it's a great start for those who haven't tried this kind of tea before! They also praise its rich flavor and mellow aroma. Some reviewers love using this tea to make kombucha, too. 

No.3

Prince of PeacePremium Pu-erh Tea

Premium Pu-erh Tea  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$28.50
Reference price
$28.50

Individually Wrapped to Preserve Freshness

Prince of Peace's Premium Pu-erh Tea is made from pu-erh tea leaves fermented for a long time to produce a rich, earthy aroma and taste. Each tea bag is individually wrapped for convenience, too. To prepare it, put one bag in six ounces of water and steep for about three to five minutes. 


Most users compliment the tea's rich, non-bitter, and smooth taste, but they note that it isn't as bold or earthy as other teas available on the market. Many find it delicious with some honey or a squeeze of lemon juice, too!

No.4

NumiChocolate Pu-erh

Chocolate Pu-erh  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Chocolate Pu-erh  Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$6.81
Reference price
$6.81

Indulge in Notes of Chocolate and Orange

Straying from traditional pu-erh tea, Numi's tea blend combines the woody pu-erh tea leaves picked from old tea trees in Yunnan mountain with cocoa powder, sweet orange peel, and aromatic spices. The caffeine level in this tea is also high enough to wake you up. Plus, the tea is sourced ethically, and the tea bags are made with plant-based materials.


The majority of reviewers compliment this tea's hints of orange peel and sweet chocolate, saying it tastes indulgent. They further mention that the spices add a nice, subtle touch to the tea without overwhelming its flavor. Buyers also say that this tea has a slightly sweet flavor that's lovely with milk and sugar.

No.5

Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh TeaPu-erh Tea Cake

Pu-erh Tea Cake  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$20.99
Reference price
$20.99

Aromatic and Smooth Flavor Without Any Bitterness

This ripened pu-erh tea is made with large tea leaves harvested in the Lancang River region in Yunnan, China. It was fermented in 2012 and has an aromatic, smooth, and slightly sweet flavor. With this tea cake, you will be able to make about 66 cups of tea. 


Most reviewers are happy with this pu-erh tea's strong and earthy flavor without any bitter aftertaste. They also like that the packaging that keeps the tea safe. Before brewing the tea, buyers recommend washing it to get the best possible taste. 

No.6

Kiss Me OrganicsOrganic Pu-erh Tea

Organic Pu-erh Tea Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$14.99
Reference price
$14.99

Lab-Tested to Be Free From Harmful Chemicals

Kiss Me Organics' pu-erh tea features a strong flavor with earthy notes. It's lab-tested by a third party to make sure that there are no harmful chemicals in the tea. With this bagged tea, you can make cold brew, too! Just add two tea bags to one liter of cold water and leave it in the fridge for more than 12 hours. 


A few buyers experienced tea bags getting stuck to the wrappers and ripping. Nonetheless, many buyers praise this tea's strong and earthy flavor and note that it can be re-brewed multiple times. They add that this tea also helped improve their digestive health. 

No.7

Jinglong Tea FactoryPu-erh Mini Tea Cakes

Pu-erh Mini Tea Cakes Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$10.98
Reference price
$10.98

Mini Cakes That Make Two Rich Cups of Tea

This tea is selected and processed from tea leaves grown in the Menghai and Lincang gardens, which are located at high altitudes. It's then compressed into a small and convenient 0.16-ounce cake shape. 


Some buyers are disappointed that this tea is made of broken tea leaves. Even so, the majority of buyers rave about this tea's smooth, rich, and earthy taste. They also confirm that it doesn't have any fishy taste or smell, unlike low-quality pu-erh teas. Reviewers add that one mini cake makes about two cups of tea. 

No.8

iMoZaiPu'erh Tea

Pu'erh Tea Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Pu'erh Tea Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$8.49
Reference price
$8.49

Smooth and Earthy Organic Tea

The leaves of iMoZai's pu-erh tea were selected from wild trees in China's Yunnan province. They were then matured and fermented to develop a rich and earthy taste. Plus, this tea is certified organic by the USDA. 


Some buyers complain that the string on the tea bag breaks off easily. Nevertheless, many reviewers complement the malty and smooth taste of this pu-erh tea. Some say it's great with honey, too! 

No.9

Jinglong Tea FactoryPu-erh Tea Original

Pu-erh Tea Original  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$24.95
Reference price
$24.95

A Strong Tea Cake From Menghai County in Yunnan

This pu-erh tea comes from Menghai county in the Chinese Yunnan province. The tea leaves are carefully picked from very old tree trees, sun-dried, fermented, and compressed into the shape of a cake. This tea features a full-bodied taste with a woody aroma. 


Even though some buyers notice a fishy smell coming from the tea, many still compliment its rich amber color and nice earthy flavor with a slight bitterness. Revers also report that this tea is pretty strong and can hold up to multiple infusions. 

No.10

Tealyra Ripe Pu-erh Tea

Ripe Pu-erh Tea  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$18.99
Reference price
$18.99

Smooth, Mellow, and Slightly Sweet Tea

Having been aged for 20 years, Tealyra's Ripe Pu-erh Tea has a smooth, full-bodied, and slightly sweet flavor with a rich aroma. Plus, this loose leaf tea is packed in an airtight ziplock bag to preserve freshness


A few buyers think the tea smells a bit fishy. However, those who usually drink pu-erh teas comment that although it isn't as strong as the compressed kind, it still has an enjoyable flavor. In fact, many reviewers find it earthy and non-bitter

Kate's Recommended Pu-erh Tea

Kate's Recommended Pu-erh Tea
Source:white2tea.com
Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

I recommend White 2 Tea Hypnotrain for its syrupy sweetness that endures long after the tea is gone.

How to Brew Pu-erh Tea

How to Brew Pu-erh Tea

There are two ways of brewing pu-erh tea. To get the most out of the tea, follow the Chinese method. You will need to have a Yixing teapot with a tea filter and teacups, or a gaiwan, which is a small porcelain cup with a lid. Yixing teapots are made of unglazed clay and absorb the flavor of brewed tea over time. Hence, they can enhance the taste of future brews.


First, rinse the teapot and teacups with hot water. Then place the desired amount of compressed or loose leaf tea into the infuser. Pour some hot water over the tea, swirl it for two to three seconds, and discard the first steep. If you're using ripened pu-erh tea, rinse the tea twice. But with raw pu-erh tea, you only need to rinse it once. 


This rinsing step is crucial as it helps awaken the leaves, allowing you to achieve the most flavorful brew possible. Next, pour hot water that's about 195 degrees Fahrenheit over the tea and let it steep for about 10 to 20 seconds. The longer the steeping time, the darker the brew becomes. Then pour the tea into teacups.


However, you can follow the Western method if you don't own a Yixing teapot! You will need a tea infuser and teapot. The brewing steps are actually similar to those of the Chinese method. Just add the desired amount of tea into the tea infuser, rinse it with hot water, and discard the first steep


Then, pour hot water into the teapot and leave it for about two minutes. If the flavor is too mild, steep it longer until you get the flavor you want. 


Also, we recommend checking the brewing instructions for the suggested leaf-to-water ratio. If you're new to pu-erh tea, you might want to use three to four grams of pu-erh tea per eight ounces of water. 

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

Rinsing shou pu'erh leaves is also important, as it washes away any dust or cobwebs that are part of the natural microbial environment. They are important to the process of developing the flavor, but you may not want them in your cup!

Essential Brewing Equipment for Perfect Tea

In order to brew the perfect tea, you need the right teaware. Check out our buying guides to learn more about essential tea brewing equipment!

In Collaboration With Tea Sommelier Kate Hesser

Kate Hesser
Tea SommelierKate Hesser

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Top 5 Pu-Erh Teas

No. 1: SanRanAged Pu-erh Tea

No. 2: Organic Positively Tea CompanyPu-erh Tea

No. 3: Prince of PeacePremium Pu-erh Tea

No. 4: NumiChocolate Pu-erh

No. 5: Yunnan Longrun Pu-erh TeaPu-erh Tea Cake

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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