The Tea Curious Blog

The Pu'erh Love Challenge


Banner for the Pu'erh Love Challenge

I know what you might be thinking.

“Pu’erh Love”? Really, Rie? Why does our cool new challenge gotta sound like some cheesy tea brand? 

Oh trust me, it sounds REALLY cheesy to me too. (Ito En's oh-so-trendy matcha LOVE brand comes to mind. Up next: Shou on the Go™, the pu’erh for the busy modern tea lover.)

But honestly, there’s no better name for this thing than Pu'erh Love, because: 

  • If you love pu’erh, this is going to be your favorite 2 weeks ever.
  • If you don’t love pu’erh, well, there’s the challenge.

It's no secret that pu'erh can be a bit intimidating to get into, and even more intimidating once you discover how much more there is to learn.

But to take on any tea, all we gotta do is taste.

And whether you're a pu'erh newbie or a hardcore pu head who's already elbows deep, that's what I'm going to ask you to do for the next two weeks: from April 1 to April 15, drink as much pu'erh as you possibly can and taste, listen, and learn.

How To Join

  • Taste and document at least 7 differen't pu'erhs (repeats are OK only if your selection is limited). Post either on Instagram or Discord to keep track of your progress and notes.ex: Today I'm doing Tea 2/7, a 2003 Yiwu Pu Er from Camellia Sinensis that tastes like...
  • Post on the #puerh-love channel on Discord and/or use the hashtag #PuerhLove2020 on Instagram.
  • In a final post, identify the pu’erh you liked best from the challenge and explain why.

Focus on pu'erh. Other heicha/post-fermented teas, such as liu bao, fu zhuan, goishicha, etc., will not count towards the challenge. Pu'erh from regions surrounding Yunnan Province is OK (such as Laos, Thailand, etc.) since some Yunnan pu'erhs often contain some material from these regions.

If you’re just getting started, this challenge should be easy: just pick up some samples and dive right in, even if you don’t know what the hell the label might be saying.

(Someone else in the community will know, trust me, since they started out not knowing wtf anything was in the beginning too.)

And if you’re already elbows deep into pu’erh, go even deeper. Drink the stuff you already know and love, but also break out any cakes or samples you might not know or like so much. Also, take advantage of this rare time when everyone will be on the pu'erh wagon: learn about what other people are drinking and experiencing, check out new vendors, and definitely share your passion with other folks who are beginning to dive into the abyss. ;)

The keyword here is diversity, both in the teas and in our shared experiences. Taste, share, and listen.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend joining the Tea Curious Discord to really dial into the challenge. Discord is awesome for more interactive, on-going tea discussions, which have been critical in my own journey to learn about tea. As a first-time Discord user myself, don't worry if you've never used the platform before: it's definitely worth it. (Click here to join the Tea Curious Discord.)


  • Catch our daily tea practice on IG Live. Topics will include pu'erh leaf grades, storage comparisons and how-tos, and interviews with some incredible pu'erh enthusiasts + experts to help us on the topic. 
  • Join us on the Tea Curious Voice Chat on Discord, 4 PM - 6 PM PST on the following dates:Wednesday, April 1: Challenge Kickoff Wednesday, April 8: Halfway Check-in Wednesday, April 15: Last Minute Drink Down

At the end of the challenge I'll be compiling another data set for us (a la the Green Tea Drink Down Challenge data) to review our joint progress.

Finally, we’ll also be picking 3 winners to receive a sampler set of our favorite pu'erhs from the challenge. Winners will be drawn at random: one tea session = one entry. Discord friends will receive a nifty April 2020 Tea Challenge role for completing the challenge objectives.

I promise that by the end of this practice, you’ll be surprised by how much ground you’ve covered, even if you end up still keeping it platonic with the pu. And someone who’s been drinking pu’erh for 8 years and who’s still waiting to fall in love, I’m more than ready to at least try. Let’s get this going. 

See you on the dark side,



This challenge was inspired by Ian (IG: @dotytron/Discord: @uncle iroh's omniverse) and of course many of our hardcore pu'erh friends, who just blow us away with their passion and dedication. Thank you!

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About the Author

Hey there, I'm Rie and I'm a professional tea nerd. I share the techniques and strategies we've used to seriously level up our tea game so you can get super confident with tea too!