Pu’erh Tea Vs. Black Tea: Which One Should You Drink?

While both pu’erh tea and black tea are healthy drinks, have you ever wondered which one is better for you? If yes, then keep reading our pu’erh tea vs. black tea guide.

Pu'erh Tea Vs. Black Tea
Pu’erh tea is made through microbial fermentation, while black tea is made through oxidation.

While both pu’erh tea and black tea are healthy options, have you ever wondered which one is better for you? Many civilizations have been drinking tea for centuries. Studies have shown that drinking tea can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and strokes, prevent diabetes, and boost your immune system.

No matter what type of tea you drink – pu’erh tea or black tea – they all come from the same plant. The main difference between pu’erh tea and black tea is the processing method. Pu’erh tea is made through microbial fermentation, while black tea is made through oxidation.

What Are Pu’erh Tea And Black Tea?

a healthy pu-erh tea
Black tea is a popular type of tea that is made from the Camellia sinensis plant the same as the Pu’erh tea

Pu’erh (or Pu-erh) tea, also known as “dark tea” in the Far East, comes from the Yunnan province of China. It is named after the market town – Pu’er City – in which it was first developed. 

Pu’erh tea is post-fermented — this means that after the tea leaves have been dried and rolled, they undergo a microbial fermentation process, which causes the tea leaves to darken and change in flavor. This process not only allows the tea to age like fine wine but also allows the tea to keep its freshness for up to 50 years!

Pu’erh tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, particularly the larger leaf called the Dayeh, which are ancient trees with mature leaves estimated to be 500 to 1000 years old. These trees are typically grown in temperate climates, and although they can be harvested throughout the year, the best time to harvest is in mid-spring. Various conditions and environmental factors can influence the flavor profile of Pu’erh tea.

On the other hand, black tea is a popular type of tea that is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant. It is highly oxidized, which results in a dark reddish-gold color, with a hearty, slightly bitter flavor, and moderate caffeine content. Although pu’erh, black, green, oolong, and white teas all come from the same plant, different varieties of the plant, as well as different processing methods, result in different types of tea. 

Many people, including those new to the world of tea, are already familiar with black tea. You can find black tea in name-brand tea bags, such as Lipton or Tetley, at your local grocery store. Popular breakfast tea blends such as Irish Breakfast tea and English Breakfast tea are other examples of black tea. 

Lipton Black Tea Bags
$17.85 ($0.56 / Ounce)
  • Lipton Black Tea Bags can help support a healthy heart.
  • Our Lipton Black Tea pack contains 400 tea bags that come as 2 boxes of 200 tea bags.
  • All our tea leaves are picked at the peak of freshness for a naturally smooth taste.
  • Lipton Black Tea is sustainably sourced, made with only 100% Rainforest Alliance certified tea bags.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/06/2024 08:10 pm GMT

What Pu’erh Tea And Black Tea Have In Common

Pu’erh tea and black tea are two of the most common types of tea. Whether you are a newcomer to the world of tea or a tea connoisseur, you have probably tasted both.

These two types of tea are made from the same plant – camellia sinensis – and offer many health benefits. 

Pu’erh Tea Vs. Black Tea: The Differences

Pu’erh TeaBlack Tea
Pu’erh tea is produced in Yunnan.Black tea is produced in most regions of China, including Fujian, Guangdong, Sichuan, Yunnan, etc.
Pu’erh tea leaves darken through a process of microbial fermentation.Black tea leaves darken through an enzymatic reaction called oxidation.
Pu’erh tea is made from larger leaves and older trees.Black tea is made from smaller leaves.
Pu’erh tea can be brewed longer.Black tea is brewed for less time. 
Pu-erh tea has a deep, rich flavor that many people describe as earthy or mushroomy.Black tea has a bolder, sweeter flavor that may include caramel, earthy, fruity, nutty, and honey notes. 

What’s Better About Pu’erh Tea?

a hand holding pu-erh tea while pouring it in a mini mug
The antioxidants in Pu’erh tea can help with overall skin health, digestion, and detoxification

Pu’erh tea is a very different type of tea because of its unique processing method. It is distinguished from other types of tea by being the most oxidized and fermented, which increases the amount of antioxidants. 

The antioxidants in Pu’erh tea can help with overall skin health, digestion, and detoxification. Some cosmetic companies even include it in their skincare ingredients — but the benefits don’t stop there. Pu’erh tea may also help with blood circulation, blood pressure, and insulin resistance and improve your overall metabolism. 

China has used different types of tea for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and Pu’erh tea is one of them. Pu’erh tea possesses promising qualities, despite the lack of definitive medical research. You may also be interested in reading our guide on fermented tea

What’s Better About Black Tea?

Black tea is one of the most popular teas in the world, and 90% of all tea sold in the United States is black tea. This tea is mainly produced in China, India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. 

Many studies have shown that black tea can improve heart health and lower cholesterol levels. A 2017 study found that drinking a cup of regular hot black tea daily lowered the risk of ischemic heart disease. This is due to the high levels of antioxidants present in black tea. 

Black tea may also decrease cancer cell growth. Flavonoids are usually associated with a lower risk of advanced cancer, particularly prostate and ovarian cancer. A study in 2016 found that theaflavin could help cisplatin (a cancer-fighting drug) work properly. 

Black tea is an excellent beverage to drink when you have a headache or an upset stomach due to digestive problems. The tannins in black tea can aid digestion by calming inflammation in the intestines, while the caffeine content can help relieve headaches and promote mental concentration. The calming effect of black tea can improve alertness while reducing stress hormone (cortisol) levels.

Who Should Get Pu’erh Tea (And Why)?

Pu’erh tea will be a great addition to any tea drinker’s collection, thanks to its distinct flavor profile and unique fermenting process. Whether you spell it pu’erh tea or pu-erh tea, you will probably find it a new favorite among your black, green, white, and oolong tea selections.

Pu’erh tea, like fermented foods, may provide potential health benefits you may feel from the inside out. Tea drinkers claim that this tea provides energy, improves your focus, and helps you feel relaxed. Just like any Chinese tonic, Pu’erh tea provides what your body needs, plus it contains some of the energizing properties of coffee without the negative side effects. 

You can drink Pu-erh tea before your workout to boost your energy. You can also drink it to aid digestion after a heavy meal and for the many health benefits that come with it — detoxification, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar. 

Furthermore, Pu’erh tea has other health benefits. Drinking this tea helps your body remove water in the tissues and burn fat, making it an ideal drink for people trying to lose weight. I also discovered that this tea suppresses my appetite; after drinking Pu’erh tea, I feel full and satisfied.

Who Should Get Black Tea (And Why)?

Black tea is a great choice if you want a low-calorie, non-sweetened drink with less caffeine than coffee or energy drinks. It has a strong, distinct flavor and contains high levels of antioxidants. The benefits may include improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and better gut health. 

A cup of black tea has 200 mg of flavonoids, equal to a third of the daily dosage you need to reap the most potential health benefits. So, if you drink a cup of black tea daily, you are doing your body a big favor. 

Black tea also has catechins, a specific flavonoid that can help maintain your gut healthy. Flavonoids have also been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They may be found in various foods, from onions to dark chocolate, but black tea has the highest concentration.

Best of all, it is easy to make and is available at your local grocery stores. You may also be interested in reading our guide on oolong tea vs. green tea.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.