Pu’er FAQs: Prebiotics & Probiotics

  1. What are prebiotics? 

Prebiotics are substances that the probiotic microorganisms (beneficial bacteria and fungi) in your gut feed on. The byproducts of this process are called metabolites. Much like the way yeast consumes sugar and produces alcohol. Following this analogy: yeast = probiotic, sugar = prebiotic, alcohol = metabolite.


  1. What are probiotics? 

Probiotics are a mix of bacteria, fungi and microbes that are understood to be beneficial to health. The types are vast in quantity and only a small number can and have been identified. 


  1. Are they dangerous? 

No. They are beneficial probiotics. On the other hand, harmful microbes are called pathogens and viruses.


  1. Which types and how many prebiotics / probiotics are in Pu’er tea? 

Like other organically produced, naturally fermented foods on the market (cheese, yogurt, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, natto etc) it is difficult and costly to definitively identify all the strains of probiotics in our Pu'er Fermented Teas. The probiotics in one type of Pu'er tea may differ from another type due to their origin, how they were fermented, where they have been stored and myriad other factors. The challenges in identifying the strains of probiotics in Pu'er Teas makes it even more challenging to quantify the CFUs (colony forming units) in them.

Regardless of this, our philosophy at Pique is that eating whole, natural foods is far more beneficial and sustainable than consuming isolated ingredients in supplement form. Most studies on isolated plant polyphenol supplementation show weak or no correlation with the health benefits associated with eating plants in whole form and obtaining the full spectrum of active ingredients from them. This is nature's way of telling us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  

Here are two research articles that discuss the type of microbes found in Pu'er Fermented Tea. 

1) The Microbiome and Metabolites in Fermented Pu-erh Tea as Revealed by High-Throughput Sequencing and Quantitative Multiplex Metabolite Analysis

2) Bacterial and fungal communities in Pu'er tea samples of different ages.

  1. How much is too much for Pu’er tea probiotics?

It is hard to meet dangerous levels of probiotics by drinking too much Pu'er tea. Generally, unless you're drinking more than a dozen cups per day, you're most likely alright, but as always, we recommend consulting with your doctor who knows your own personal health.  


  1. Can they replace supplements? 

No. Pu’er Fermented Teas are teas not supplements. In our approach to health, we believe in obtaining our nutrients from whole, natural foods as opposed to supplements.


  1. Do probiotics die at a certain water temperature in tea?

Probiotics are a mix of bacteria, fungi and microorganisms. Some perish in hot water but many don’t. For example, many fungi actually require hot water to be activated. Pu’er tea has been consumed for centuries in hot water to support gut health. 


  1. Do Pu’er teas need to be refrigerated for their probiotics to survive?

No they do not. Pu’er teas do not require refrigeration. In fact, to accelerate the fermentation of Pu’er tea, you actually want to increase the temperature. But there is no need for you to do this, since our teas are already fermented. 


  1. Do Pu’er teas expire faster than other teas? 

Pu’er teas actually never expire. They only get better with time as more fermentation occurs. We list an expiration date on our products simply because moisture will seep into the package over time, causing the Crystals to clump. But even after clumping, Pu’er Tea Crystals will continue to be excellent in quality. 


  1. Are Pu’er teas a type of kombucha? 

Yes, they can be compared to kombucha except they are dry in nature and do not require sugar to ferment. The probiotics in Pu’er tea metabolize polyphenols for fermentation. Whereas the probiotics in kombucha metabolize sugar for fermentation. The probiotics in Pu'er tea are also natural and indigenous to the tea leaf (they are already living on the tea leaf), whereas probiotics in kombucha are typically cultured and added. 


  1. Are any probiotics removed via Triple Toxin Screening?

No. Triple Toxin Screening screens for heavy metals, pesticides and toxic mold, not probiotic substances. 


  1. Should I avoid these teas if I have specific health conditions? What about my children? 

Please consult your doctor, healthcare professional or pediatrician. 

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