Tea is one of the most beloved beverages in the world, with its complex flavors and health benefits. While most tea enthusiasts enjoy a cup of their favorite brew without considering its price, others are willing to pay a premium for rare, unique, and high-quality teas. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five of the most expensive teas on the planet.
Da Hong Pao – The King of Teas
Da Hong Pao, also known as Big Red Robe, is one of the priciest black teas on the market. This tea has a rich history, tracing back to the Ming Dynasty and the Wuyi Mountains, where it is grown. The tea’s unique terroir contributes to its layered body with notes of earthy and mineral flavors, a deep red hue, and a lively finish.
The tea’s astronomical price tag is largely due to the fact that the leaves are harvested from plants that have grown on the mountains for over 300 years. Many of these old-growth plants last produced true Da Hong Pao in 2005, resulting in a high demand for the dried leaves from these ancient plants. At $1,400 per gram, this tea can fetch more than 30 times its weight in gold. However, some companies sell cheaper versions of Da Hong Pao from newer tea plants cultivated in nearby locations, providing an affordable way to enjoy the flavor and terroir of teas from the Wuyi region.
Panda Dung Tea – The Unconventional Tea
Panda Dung tea is an unusual tea that is fertilized using the dung of panda bears. The tea is produced in small quantities in the Sichuan Province of China by a wildlife expert. The producers claim that the tea contains extensive health benefits, as pandas only absorb about 30 percent of the nutrients in their diet, and the remaining 70 percent ends up in their excrement, making a highly nutritious fertilizer for tea plants.
Panda Dung tea has a nutty flavor and malty aroma, making it a must-try for tea lovers who enjoy rich aromas and layered flavors. At $35,000 per pound, it is one of the world’s most expensive teas.
PG Tips Diamond Tea Bag – The Luxury Tea
PG Tips, a British tea company known for its tasty tea offerings, released a Darjeeling tea in a diamond-encrusted tea bag to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2005. The tea bag featured 280 2.56-carat diamonds and a delicate white gold chain for easy brewing. The tea bag was made by jewelry favorite Boodles and was used to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
The tea bag contained Silver Tips Imperial tea leaves cultivated at the Makaibari Tea Estate in India. At $15,000 for one tea bag, this luxury tea is an extravagant indulgence that would make a perfect gift for tea enthusiasts with a taste for the finer things in life.
Vintage Narcissus – The Hunter’s Tea
Vintage Narcissus is an oolong tea produced in the Wuyi Mountains. It has yellow gold tea buds and a layered flavor that is unlike any other. The tea is heavily oxidized, resulting in a chocolaty and woodsy flavor with notes of floral and nutty undertones. The tea derives its name from the Greek hunter Narcissus, who found beauty in everything.
One of the most expensive Narcissus Wuyi teas was sold in a 50-year-old box that became a prized object for collectors across the globe. At $3,250 per pound, Vintage Narcissus is an expensive yet unique
and highly sought-after tea. The tea is produced in limited quantities and harvested during specific times of the year, which adds to its rarity and cost. The aging process of the tea also affects its price, with vintage and aged varieties fetching even higher prices. For tea enthusiasts looking for a special and rare tea experience, Vintage Narcissus is certainly worth trying.
Tieguanyin Tea – $1,500 per pound
Tieguanyin tea, also known as Iron Goddess tea, is a semi-oxidized oolong tea that originated in China’s Fujian province. Its name comes from the Buddhist deity Guanyin, also known as the Goddess of Mercy. Tieguanyin tea is known for its rich, floral aroma, and complex taste profile that can vary depending on the growing conditions and processing methods.
Tieguanyin tea holds the title for the most expensive tea sold in the United Kingdom, with prices reaching up to $1,500 per pound. Despite its high price tag, Tieguanyin tea is popular among tea enthusiasts because it can be infused multiple times without developing a bitter taste, making it an excellent value for those who appreciate its unique flavor and aroma.
While tea may be a common beverage enjoyed by millions worldwide, these premium teas are anything but ordinary. From the rare and ancient Da Hong Pao tea to the unique Panda Dung tea, each of these teas has its own story and flavor profile that sets it apart from the rest. While their high prices may seem excessive, they are a testament to the time, effort, and care that goes into producing these exceptional teas. For those who appreciate fine teas, these expensive teas are an indulgent treat worth trying at least once.