One is infused with 24K splendor while another is harvested from only six, thousand-year-old trees.
It being one of the most popular drinks in the world, tea takes all kinds and all price points. Many tea drinkers have their every day pot, but other, more serious aficionados have The Ruben’s on their travel bucket list, or spend every other day at their nearby TWG shop.
Luxury labels and tea brands have also been known to mix. In 2012, for example, Boodles Jewelers adorned a PG Tips tea bag with 280 diamonds to celebrate the latter’s 75th birthday. The single, gem-encrusted tea bag was valued at $10,000.
Here are more high-priced cuppas in the world:
Da Hong Pao
One of the most highly-circulated bits of information about Da Hong Pao online is how it does extremely well in auctions. In 1998, 20 grams of Da Hong Pao, also called Big Red Robe, sold for around $20,000. Four years later, it went for around $28,000. Finally, in 2005, another 20 grams was purchased for a whopping $30,000 at the Shanghai International Tea Festival.
Why is “the king of tea” so expensive anyway? The original version of the tea is from Mother Da Hong Pao trees, which have been around for thousands of years. There are said to be only six of these trees growing in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian, China, and is therefore considered a national treasure. Only the government can harvest from these trees. Most of the varieties circulating today, which are significantly cheaper, are artificially-bred.
Yellow Gold Tea Buds
At first glance, it’s not so hard to believe that you would have to pay a premium for this tea. According to TWG Tea, who sells it exclusively, it is a favorite of Chinese emperors. “Each tea bud is lavished in 24-karat gold, which once infused, yields a delicately metallic and floral aftertaste. Unforgettable,” reads its description on the TWG site.
The tea apparently only grows on a single mountain in China, harvested once a year from the top part of the trees. As it is priced at around $400 per 50 grams, making a kilogram around $8,000. TWG advises for drinkers to pour 75°C water over 2.5g of the tea leaves per cup, infusing for three to four minutes before removing the leaves and serving.
In the early 2010s, Sinchuan University lecturer and wildlife expert An Yashi debuted a variety of green tea, which was grown soil-infused with panda dung. Yashi claimed that the tea, which is grown in Ya’an Mountains of Sichuan, China, offered added health benefits for the drinker.
When it was introduced, Panda Tea was priced at an extraordinary premium, and sold for $3,500 for 50 grams. That takes it to a whopping $70,000 for a kilogram of the tea. It is apparently still sold in specialty shops, and has retained its high market value probably because of the waning panda population.