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.