We are no strangers to chowing down on delicious Guangzhou dim sum and bringing our own tea to the table. Tea is an excellent drink to have with a big meal and tea can also be a soother of stomachs when you've eaten too many greasy or rich foods. Many would cite various herbal teas, such as mint, ginger, or chamomile, to aid in digestion and while herbal teas are commendable, we thought we'd share some of our favorite teas that are helpful for digestion.
Shou Puer (also called shu or ripe Puer) can range from wood, sweet, chocolate, fruity, and earthy flavors but their most lauded quality for easing a stomach ache is the smooth, dark, rich, and thick body of the tea. These teas have a comforting flavor, lower caffeine than many alternatives, and a warming body feeling. The post fermented profile, as well as the rich dark tastes of shou Puer, cut through greasy foods and upset stomachs like no other. The dark richness of this tea is easy to drink even for those with sensitive stomachs. There is a reason that shou Puer is a famous pairing with big dim sum feasts the world over, but it also pairs well with a large variety of foods from savory to sweet.
A good quality ripe Puer should never taste fishy or funky. Some of white2tea shous have a burly bitter, smokey, or petrichor flavor. For a good sweet, smooth, and warming ripe Puer our 2021 Waffles or 2021 Lesser Evilsare solid choices. For Puer with aged medicinal flavor would be even better, like our 2003 Nuo Xiang shu. For those with sensitive stomachs, we'd recommend aiming for shou Puer teas with three years of more of age, as they tend to be clearer and smoother than freshly pressed counterparts.
Contrary to common belief, youthful white tea can have ample caffeine, which is not what we are looking for in a calming tea that is easy to drink. Aged white teas have settled down and oxidized into a dark, smooth, sweet date, and medicinal flavor. Even traditional Chinese medicine treasures the medicinal elements of aged white tea, often recommended in China for those who would like a hot drink when they have a cold. These teas are calming and sweet flavored, thus great for a relaxing tea session prepared in a variety of ways. Simmered on the stove, aged white tea can come out as a potent medicinal date flavor that may ease an angry stomach. You can play it safe with our 2013 Shou Mei white tea cake, which has fewer buds than the 2013 Gongmei, but both teas are dark, fruity, and smooth. Refer to our Storing White Tea and How to Age Baicha blog so you have your aged white tea well stored and ready to drink after a big meal.
Chenpi is an orange skin from Guangdong province, prized in China for it's medicinal properties and ability to age gracefully. Ripe Puer blends, such as our Saturday Mass, have medicinal citrus peels combined with the fermented, dark, and rich shou puer flavors. These teas are beginner friendly and easy to steep. Chenpi Orange Ripe Puer also has a comforting and familiar flavor that appeals to many tastes. The combination of tantalizing warming body feeling and digestion easing is powerful. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses this tea for digestion issues, but also many find chenpi ripe Puer blends reduce sore throats.
Some of our teas have the aged chenpi mandarin orange peel already blended into the ripe Puer. To control the amount of medicinal citrus flavor, you can opt for the 2011 Black Star or 2015 Red Star to add as much or as little orange peel as you like. A little bit goes a long way!
Fresh teas with notes of astringency and bitterness are desired to some people for an engaging tea session. Yet, in our experience, young raw Puer and green tea can be challenging on sensitive stomachs. These teas can have potent caffeine or an astringent acidity that can add extra stress to an already stressed stomach. If you're stomach is sensitive to tea, you might want to steer clear of teas like green tea or young raw Puer, or use less leaf according to your own tastes.
Not all raw sheng Puer is bad. Aged raw Puer typically has a faded bitterness and settled into a more dark and smoother flavor. If you still want young raw Puer, you can try brewing with fewer tea leaves than usual. Steeping with a cooler water temperature can also make the young raw Puer, or any other tea, less astringent or bitter.
If tea is tough on your stomach always eat first before drinking tea. Tea is acidic, so on an empty stomach tea can encourage a sore belly. Listen to your body, drink slowly, and drink plenty of water while you drink tea.
Aged White tea is new on the block compared to aged Puer. White tea ages into sweeter, darker, and medicinal flavors. Unlike fresh white tea, aged white tea is hard to over brew. Thus, aged white tea has more steeping options that highlight the strengths of the mature tea.