Pu-erh and jitters/incresed anxiety?

I have tried a few Pu-erh teas now beyond Numi (natures tea leaf: loose, a tu cha, now Persimmon Tree honeysuckle, a few others) and all of the ones where I finished a cup or more, I started getting jittery half a cup in. I had read before joining steepster about how people with some medical conditions should avoid this type of tea, and have wondered about that, but due to the nature of such things, have avoided speaking of it here till now…I am wondering if others have experinced this. the Jitters come on faster and more intense then when I drink coffee too…

any feedback appreciated.

16 Replies
cuppaT said

I’ve never had a problem with pu’er, even if I drink it right before bedtime; I find it to be a very relaxing tea. One cup of coffee gives me a noticeable motor mouth, though, and two or more cups often give me the jitters. Everyone’s different, but sometimes our bodies will get used to new experiences with time and sometimes they won’t. The first time I had a shot of wheatgrass juice I felt like I was having a heart attack — it was that much of a rush! — but I tolerate it just fine now.

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some pu’erhs hit me hard as if I drank something with lots of caffeine, not as much as mate or guayusa, but pretty close to maybe a black tea. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine, even though I drink tea quite a bit. I tend to switch to a caffeine free tea at around 3 or 4 pm.

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Solegna said

I used to receive jitters comparable to coffee with Pu-erh (mainly in the hands and arms). Switched to green teas and settled on Gyokuro as the ideal “non-jitter” drink because of the theanine content.

I’ve been drinking greens for years personally, though have not had too much experince yet with Gyokuro.

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ashmanra said

There is a phenomenon known as puerh intoxication. I thought it usually involved feeling a bit dizzy or spaced out, though. The first time my son drank puerh it happened to him, but never again. And it couldn’t be the caffeine because when he is gaming he downs Mountain Dew! One or two people have reviewed puerh on here while under the influence of it, and their review looked like it was written by a drunk. LOL! I first heard of it from Mike Harney. It may have been in his book.

very tempted to try to get pu’erh drunk, lol. Maybe on a weekend. Oh geeze, I sound like a total tea nerd.

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Claire said

I’ve had some puerhs make me feel like they have a lot of caffeine, mostly young shengs. You’re not alone! I’d say experiment and do what feels right for your body.

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Try not to steep it too long. The caffeine comes out in the withering and cooking stages, and if it is not processed correctly, you suffer with the tea being too caffeinated.

Check out our site, www.MistyPeakTeas.com or a video showing how it is processed to learn more.

Jitters will go away, no matter how caffeinated a beverage is…you must first adapt the antibodies to those acids.


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I try to make sure I have something in my stomach. Also, how are you brewing? I Gongfu puerh in small portions (usually 50-75 ml)

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I put about 2 small chips in my travel tumbler for brewing, first steep If I recall correctly was about 2min. Same jitteriesness has happened both with and without eating first.

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I don’t see why Pu erhs in general would have more caffeine than other teas. However the distinctive difference between Pu erh and other teas is the microbial fermentation which occurs in aged Pu erh. Perhaps the jitteriness is a reaction to Aspergillus, Blastobotrys, and Streptomyces which are found in Pu-erh tea as a result of the fermentation. Do you have any similar reactions to fermented foods, fungi or substances?

I have not noticed such reactions, but won’t discount such. I’m not sure it is a “caffeine” or caffeine only issue, as when I drink coffee, about half a cup in I get very relaxed sometimes so tired I lose productivity.

The closest experince I had was when I had a bolthouse mocha whey smoothie…

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Perhaps you are drinking/gulping it instead of sipping it?

no, I was sipping it over periods of hours.

You may get used to it…it is new to your body still. Or, perhaps, your body does not react well with that and try something else.

I’ve got many options for teas that I already adore, so not concerned about losing out on finding great teas. I have wondered how often (daily, weekly, monthly) I would have to drink pu erh to see of my body did adjust, but not sure it is a priority for me at the moment.

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