The inhibitory effect of the extract of pu-erh tea (PETs) against six strains by paper-diffusion methods and the characterization of the mutton treated with different concentrations of the PETs during storage at 7 ± 1C were evaluated in this article. The results showed PETs could significantly inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, Streptococcicosis faecalis, Escherichia coli and Bacillus anthraci, and their minimum inhibitory concentration were 0.07, 0.18, 0.50, 0.42 and 0.48 mg/mL, respectively. PETs showed weak inhibition for S. aureus. The cooled mutton treated with PETs resulted in suppression in the increase of total volatile base nitrogen and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance, inhibition of Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas growth. The cooled mutton treated with 2% PETs showed highest color and overall acceptability. These results suggest the high potential in using PETs as a means of enhancing freshness and quality in cooled meats.