Pu-erh Chocolate Brownies

Tea and chocolate? Delicious, a no brainer. But what about tea in chocolate? Just as delicious, I can assure you! I ended up with a serious brownie craving over the weekend, and got to thinking about which teas we commonly use for baking. Matcha, Earl Grey, Chai…sure, those work great. But what about Pu-erh? After you get over that somewhat mysterious name, you have the makings of one amazing baking tea, one that mimics the characteristics of chocolate more than any other tea.
This recipe uses ripe or cooked Pu-erh, also called shou, that has a characteristically earthy and mellow taste that some might call musty. Like coffee, this fermented tea adds a layer of flavor to these goodies, an extra bit of complexity and depth. Taste your tea first. A robust Pu-erh will produce a richer brownie while a sweeter Pu-erh will produce a milder flavor (kind of like dark vs. milk chocolate).
This recipe for brownies is undeniably a healthier one, my go-to when I’m trying to avoid guilt. If you’re partial to a more standard brownie recipe, but still want to flavor them with tea, just use the infusion techniques that I’ve applied here. My suggestion is to try to pick a recipe with some kind of liquid addition. This might be milk or melted butter, or even water or cream, like in this recipe. A liquid ingredient helps to provide a base for steeping the Pu-erh, thus helping to infuse flavor into the final product.To finish, I sprinkle a very light dusting of the tea straight out of a ripped tea bag over the Pu-erh-infused, ganache-laden brownies. This ganache can be used to top any kind of sweet treats, from prepared boxed brownies to cupcakes to ice cream. Keep in mind that if you want to use Pu-erh tea as a garnish, you’ll need to use a brand that’s very finely processed. I like that the leaf bits give you a hint of what you’re in for, certainly not your everyday chocolate treat!Pu-erh Chocolate Brownies

Makes 9- 3″ brownies. 



6 Pu-erh tea bags (I used Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh)

1 cup hot water

1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and fully squeezed dry (6 oz. of spinach after squeezed)

{Dry Ingredients}

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 Tbsp natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted

1/4 cup black onyx cocoa powder, sifted (optional- if you can’t find this, you can use just the Dutch-processed cocoa powder instead)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

{Wet Ingredients}

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp canola oil

oil spray and extra cocoa power for prepping pan

{Ganache Icing}

3 Tbsp heavy cream

2 Pu-erh tea bags (I used Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh)

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


9″ square baking pan, greased and dusted with a thin layer of cocoa powder

large liquid measuring cup

2 large mixing bowls

food processor fitted with steel blade

medium bowl


1. In a large measuring cup, steep the 6 tea bags in 1 cup of hot water according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. Remove the tea bags after steeping, making sure to squeeze out all the tea from them. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the spinach for about a minute, adding the steeped tea to loosen the spinach around the blade. Process the spinach until you get an even purée.

4. In another mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the processed spinach puree to the wet ingredients, mix thoroughly, then add this to the dry ingredients. Mix this brownie batter until just homogenous, then transfer to the prepared baking pan.

5. Bake the brownies for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick just comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack to cool until the brownies come to room temperature.

6. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, heat 3 Tbsp of heavy cream in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Remove the cream from the microwave, then place 2 tea bags in the hot cream, and steep them for the recommended amount of time. Remove the tea bags, making sure to squeeze out all the tea from them. Add the chocolate chips to the infused cream, and let them sit for about a minute. Mix together the cream and chocolate chips until you get a smooth ganache. Spread the ganache over the brownies after they have cooled, either before or after cutting to serve.

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This is so creative! Pu-erh is my favorite tea. I drink it every night, and never thought that it can be added to one of my favorite desserts! Definitely going to try it out.

What’s the difference between black onyx cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder?

Bonnie Eng

Hey Eva! So, the difference between natural and black is that the black variety has been heavily Dutched, which basically means that the acidity has been reduced. This process creates a darker color and flavor to the cocoa powder. The best example of a black cocoa powder product are Oreos. Natural cocoa powder isn’t Dutched, and therefore has a lighter color and taste. If you can’t find the black version (you can find it at gourmet stores like King Arthur Flour or Surfas in LA) a good-quality, Dutched or Double-Dutched cocoa will work well here. Hope this helps, and happy Pu-erh drinking to you! 😉


Looks amazing and I always have pur-eh to use! Does it work with another type of tea and can I substitute the spinach somehow?

Bonnie Eng

Hey Cynthia! If you are meaning another type/brand of Pu-erh, sure this will work. You’ll just want to adjust the amount of tea to be equivalent in strength to what I’m using here. I use a ratio of 6 tea bags to 1 cup of liquid here. You can use more or less depending on your type and strength of tea.

Here’s a similar, more straight-forward brownie recipe that will work well with tea infusing:

In the butter melting step, melt the butter by itself first, then let the tea steep in the butter for the suggested amount of time, perhaps several minutes longer as tea takes longer to steep in a fat-based liquid. This step will allow the butter to infuse with tea flavor. Then proceed with the recipe as directed.

Hope this helps Cynthia! If you want to, let me know what tea you prefer to use and I can give you suggestions on how to work it into this recipe. 🙂

Bonnie Eng

Cynthia…do you like zucchini? You could grate it on a small grater, then squeeze it dry like i did with the spinach. You would use the same amount.

Oolong Owl

OOooh looks fantastic! I was a little worried as I don’t eat sweets as much as I used to (darn diet) but I love your recipe looks pretty low calorie. Pu’er and chocolate is an excellent pairing!

Bonnie Eng

Thanks so much Char! If anyone could appreciate these, it would be you! I’m constantly having a love-hate relationship with baking…this time I decided to be “good.” 🙂 The ganache gives these just the right touch of evil…haha! 😉

Ditch The Takeout And Try These Delicious And Healthy Chinese Food Recipes | Bembu

[…] Pu-Erh Chocolate Brownies – We can’t finish without giving you a delicious, indulgent dessert recipe. This isn’t technically a traditional Chinese dish, but it offers a fantastic and creative use of some healthy Chinese ingredients, with an irresistible mix of chocolate and tea! Matcha, Earl Grey and Chai are often used in baking, but this blogger wanted to try Pu-Erh, and found that it was the perfect tea to use with chocolate. This recipe is moist, dense and tastes absolutely indulgent, but it is full of nutritious ingredients, including cocoa, tea and even spinach. […]