Have you ever tried the “champagne of teas?” Considered the most expensive tea because the leaves are smaller than other teas, Darjeeling tea traditionally possesses an allure over other black teas, especially in places like the United Kingdom and countries once belonging to the former British Empire. Can you imagine tea that costs $1,700 per kg? Below you will find a handful of pricey selections, including the most expensive teabag in the world.
Purchase prices for Darjeeling tea have broken world records, including the 18,000 rupees ($390.70) per kg paid at an auction at the main tea market in Calcutta in 2003. Weather conditions also play a significant role in the price of the tea because too much or too little rain can negatively affect crops.
When purchasing Darjeeling tea, get in the habit of identifying the ‘flush,’ which indicates when shoots have been plucked. In early April, the first flush usually takes place – producing fragrant tea with multiple layers of flavor. The second flush comes early summer and is often less expensive. The tea is softer, fruitier (and at times smokier) in taste.
Tieguanyin Oolong Tea
Hailing from the Fujian province, China, Tieguanyin tea generally sells for $1,700 per kg. Demanding multiple infusions in order to bring out the intensity of its flavor, the oolong tea is brewed three to four times – in a style known as ‘gung fu.’ With a characteristic floral appeal, the Chinese favor the tea for special occasions.
Tea drinkers may choose from two types of Tieguanyin:
* Jade Tieguanyin – Harvested the second week in May, the flowery aroma and taste complements its soft green color.
* Autumn Tieguanyin – The deeper flavor of this Chinese favorite comes courtesy of a fall harvest.
Da Hong Pao Tea
If you’re looking for the most expensive tea in the world, the original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) from Wuyi China is a clear winner. In 2002, 20 grams of Da Hong Pao (which measures out to about two-thirds of an ounce) sold for the equivalent of nearly $23,000. In 2004, the same quantity fetched about $21,000. This is because the original Da Hong Pao tea trees date back more than 350 years.
With a history of being an exquisite treat for government officials, emperors, and religious leaders, the public has only been granted limited access to the teas at auctions. While it’s next to impossible to get a hold of the original Da Hong Pao tea, the wonder of modern science has allowed clones of original plants for commercial growth. Known as “secondary” Da Hong Pao tea, consumers enjoy easy access to the essence of a historical treasure at affordable prices.
A Diamond Teabag
While you can’t drink it, it’s certainly an impressive sight to see – a teabag filled with diamonds. Boodles Jewelers handcrafted a diamond teabag worth £7,500 (US $15,250) to pay homage to PG Tips’ 75th birthday. Inside, 280 diamonds glisten. It’s fate? To raise money for a children’s charity in Manchester, England.