Almond Pu-erh Protein Shake

I’m always surprised by the kitchen sophistication of my 14-year-old niece. When we hang out, she often brings a long list of homemade cooking projects she wants to accomplish. Our latest hang-out session included crepes, walnut bread, cardamom buns, granola, seed crackers, and four-bean chili. All of which we tackled over two days.

almond pu-erh protein shakeThis simple yet sophisticated protein shake is inspired by my niece too. During our two-day cooking marathon she rattled off her “recipe” for her favorite smoothie: almond milk, almond butter, cinnamon, yogurt, and protein powder. Easy, healthy, and delicious. I added a few tweaks to my version…to include tea of course.

pu-erh tea ice cubesWhy this recipe works with tea: One of the easiest ways to incorporate tea into smoothies or shakes is to freeze strong-brewed tea in ice cube trays. You can add a handful of tea ice cubes to your favorite blended beverage for a healthy energy boost, including naturally-derived caffeine, antioxidants, and amino acids.

pu-erh tea ice cubes for smoothiesWhile you can freeze any type of tea into ice cubes, I like the earthy notes of pu-erh for this protein shake.

pu-erh tea and almondsPu-erh is a post-fermented tea; meaning it goes through a microbial fermentation process after the tea leaves have been oxidized, shaped, and dried. During this process the tea is actually aged, like a fine wine, anywhere from months to years to decades. This fermentation process yields a unique earthy flavor derived from friendly bacteria and fungi and tinged with woodsy and savory notes.

adagio pu-erh hazelberry teaFor this protein shake recipe I used Adagio’s Pu-erh Hazelberry loose leaf tea. Hints of nuts and berries make this a smooth-drinking pu-erh that’s still rich and earthy. It’s not overly flavored either; just a bit of cocoa nibs with light strawberry and hazelnut flavoring helps balance the pungent savory notes a traditional pu-erh naturally emits. This is a great pu-erh to try if you’re new to this unique category of gourmet tea. It makes delicious ice cubes for nutty smoothies too!

making pu-erh protein shakeHappy cooking and sipping!

P.S. Thanks a bunch to Adagio Teas for sending me a selection of teas to review in my Tea Foodie kitchen.

Almond Pu-erh Protein Shake

By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie

Makes one shake, with enough tea ice cubes for two more shakes.


For tea ice cubes:

1 tablespoon pu-erh loose leaf tea (I used Adagio’s Pu-erh Hazelberry tea)

2 cups just boiled water

For one shake:

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 banana

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 teaspoon honey

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 to 6 tea ice cubes

Chopped strawberries and almonds for garnish (optional)


For tea ice cubes: Steep pu-erh in just boiled water for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain and let tea cool. Pour tea into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. Makes enough ice cubes to make three shakes.

For one shake: Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with chopped almonds and strawberries if desired.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jackie G. says:

    This is such a clever idea! I could see this working with fruit teas and fruit smoothies, too.

    1. Tea Foodie says:

      Thanks, Jackie! This works great with fruit teas. I love making ice cubes with any kind of hibiscus tea blend. Makes gorgeous looking ice cubes and smoothies too.

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