My favorite part of traveling is learning something new. I have always been fascinated by Chinese remedies. There’s a tea shop under the Mid Levels escalator. There are no English signs, but people stop by all day long for the poured tea laid out on the counter. I know it has health benefits, but I don’t read Chinese so would always just pick a tea at random. Anyway, a gift of Pu Erh tea arrived in my room at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong (perhaps they knew our history at the Captain’s Bar), so I decided to investigate its health benefits.

What Is Pu Erh Tea?

It’s a dark tea that undergoes a microbial fermentation process after the leaves are dried and rolled. It’s sold as compressed tea in bricks, discs, or balls, but you can also find loose versions.

Ages Like A Fine Wine

Like a fine wine, Pu Erh is said to get better with age. People pay thousands of dollars per pound for a well-aged Pu Erh. And, because of this, people collect it and buy it as an investment.

Health Benefits Of Pu Erh Tea

Pu Erh has microbes in it. They continue to evolve as it ages. Think yogurt. It’s also supposed to reduce cholesterol, invigorate the spleen, reduce stomach “dampness” (get your Chinese medicine books out for that lesson), remove toxins, and promote weight loss.

About The Hangovers

Every single article I read on the internet mentions that it’s used to “counteract the unpleasant affects of heavy alcohol consumption.” Even the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong refers to this on the sheet that was enclosed with my tea. Also, notice the Mandarin Oriental fans on each brick in the post photo above.

Where To Buy Pu Erh Tea In The US

You probably won’t find Pu Erh at most local grocery stores (though our local VONS carries it). However, Teavana at Fashion Valley sells jazzed up versions such as “Strawberry Slender.” I suspect that most Chinese might scoff at that. Numi also has a Pu Erh version.

Speaking of tea, see 13 Reasons to Drink Green Tea or learn about the health benefits of lemon water.

Happy drinking!

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Are you bringing some back for the San Diego Wine Mafia?
    I really need to counter-act the unpleasantness of overindulging in alcohol! Seriously.
    This could be a new venture for the Mafia, marketing hangover remedies.
    But in the photo, I was thinking they looked like brownies. (Always looking for dessert….)

  2. Great overview of one of my favorite teas! My favorite pu’erh comes from Physique Tea… they call it ONYX Single Leaf Tea. I drank two cups after a long night of partying and felt fine the entire day after (I had to travel internationally too!). Plus their pu’erh comes in a wide pored tea bag, even though it is whole leaf, so it makes it a lot more convenient for traveling. I think the website is just

  3. Hi Katie,

    I really enjoy your travel stories. I am very pleased to read your Pu-Erh experience. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you have a chance to visit Vancouver, please contact me and visit my tea studio for a special Pu-Erh tasting.

    All the best,