Pu Erh tea comes from Camellia Sinensis, commonly known as the tea plant. Yes. The same one used to produce green, red, and black tea. The production process is the main difference between the varieties.
Since all of them can be mixed with some milk, you might wonder. Can you drink Pu Erh tea with milk? The short answer is yes. You can add a little to soften the flavor. Still, Pu Erh tea is enjoyable on its own.
But wait! Stay a little longer with us as we dive deep into Pu Erh tea. We will discuss many curiosities and share some recipes. So, start heating the water!
What Does Pu Erh Tea Taste Like?
It looks like coffee when recently brewed. However, it lacks the bitter aftertaste and strong smell. On the other hand, the fermentation process the leaves undergo complements the profile with an earthy flavor.
Some avid drinkers allegedly taste some smoky tones as well. But it is subtle as most.
Pu Erh Production
It all starts with tea plant leaves. They get parched and then fermented for some time to produce this unique tea. There are two main methods. One traditional and one industrialized process.
We are not going to dwell on each one, as the leaves undergo the same complex fermentation process. The main difference between both is the time it takes. The traditional way takes longer as it doesn’t use accelerants. Plus, it has a stronger earthy flavor as a result.
How to Brew Pu Erh Tea
Brewing Pu Erh tea is quite simple. Water temperature and time are the only two variants to control. In this case, you want to boil the water at around 212 ºF. While nothing prevents you from using hotter or cooler water, I’ve found that this temperature allows the leaves to expand better.
On the other hand, 5 minutes is more than enough time to produce a rich brew. Feel free to leave the leaves longer if you want a stronger tea. Just make sure to remove them and allow some time for the tea to rest before drinking it.
Yeah, 5 minutes is quite a long steeping time. But this will produce a complete flavor profile. You won’t enjoy the full experience if you take the leaves out before time.
If you are using loose leaves or Pu Erh cakes, we recommend brewing around 1 teaspoon worth of Pu Erh. This should be more than enough for one large cup of tea. Naturally, you can use more to either brew more tea or enjoy a stronger cuppa.
Pu Erh Tea and Milk Recipe
Although we recommend trying the tea alone, some people might have a more enjoyable experience mixing it with milk. Needless to say, the first step is to brew the tea as we described before.
Remove all the tea leaves and bags from the cup and let it rest. In the meantime, pour around 30 ml of milk into another cup. Make sure to take the milk out of the fridge before brewing, otherwise, your tea will be too cold to enjoy.
Start to pour the milk into the tea and slowly stir the cuppa until there is no more left. You can also add sugar to taste if you want. However, we strongly advise against it. The sugar will mask the flavor of the tea, making you unable to enjoy the earthy tones. The same goes for adding too much milk. While nothing stops you from using more than 30 ml, using more will yield a milky-flavored tea. This is especially true if you use whole milk.
Which Milk Should I Use?
You can virtually use any milk you have in the fridge. But we recommend using low-fat milk. This way, you won’t alter the texture of the tea. Similarly, the flavor profile won’t be as affected as if you use whole milk.
Some people use condensed milk. However, this will greatly change the taste of the tea. Plus, it is out of the question if you want to avoid sugar.
Does Pu Erh Tea Have Caffeine?
Yes. Pu Erh tea has caffeine. In fact, it has more than many other teas. To give you some perspective, you can expect between 30 to 100 mg per 240 ml of tea.
Therefore, you should not drink Pu Erh tea at night/evening if you are highly sensitive to caffeine.
Is Pu Erh Tea Safe?
Drinking Pu Erh Tea is safe as long as you are an adult. Tea of any kind should be kept away from children, as they lack the digestive bacteria able to assimilate these drinks.
However, since Pu Erh tea has caffeine, you should not drink more than 4 cups daily. The limit is lower if you also drink coffee throughout the day. Although drinking more cups won’t kill you, it might produce headaches or insomnia.
Contact your doctor if you are pregnant, as you should avoid all caffeinated drinks. The same goes if you are breastfeeding. Still, if you are hell-bent on drinking Pu Erh tea, make sure not to exceed two cups.
Can I Add Honey to Pu Erh Tea?
Many people enjoy drinking tea with honey, as it is a healthy way to sweeten your brew. Plus, it also adds some nutritional value. However, you will also disrupt the flavor profile of the tea.
We suggest adding honey once the tea has rested. This way, you will avoid adding too much since the solubility of honey increases with temperature.
Avoid using honey and milk at the same time. In fact, you should avoid using more than one topping simultaneously.
Can I Make Pu Erh Iced Tea?
Pu Erh tea is meant to be drunk hot, with each sip taken delicately, allowing the tea to cool down in your mouth. This will allow your taste buds to catch all the flavors.
Still, nothing stops you from enjoying Pu Erh tea cold. Just follow the steps here and remember not to add too much ice!
Pu Erh Tea With Milk: An Enjoyable Experience
Pu Erh tea might not be among the most commonly consumed teas in the world. But it is definitely one of the tastiest. It has a subtle and rich earthy taste granted by the fermentation process.
While many tea drinkers enjoy Pu Erh alone, myself included. Others love adding milk to it. This produces a softer brew, making it more suitable for first-timers. You can also add honey or sugar, although we don’t recommend it as it will change the natural profile of the tea.
You can use any milk you have available. But we recommend low-fat options as they don’t have such a strong taste. That’s the same reason why you shouldn’t use condensed milk.
Lastly, the milk should be around room temperature before mixing it with the tea. Around 30 ml should be enough to produce a delicious light-brown tea. But feel free to add more on less as you discover your desired ratio!