Valued at around a whopping $1.2 million per kg, the most expensive tea in the world would give any fine wine a run for its money. For a true tea connoisseur, no price is high enough to savor the very best of flavors. Here’s a look at the top 10 expensive teas in the world.
- Da Hong Pao-Averaging on $1,400 per gram, this rare oolong is often regarded as the most expensive in the world. Solely produced in Wuyishan, Fujian the unique soil condition of this region imparts the tea leaves with a special mineral character. The best Da-Hong Pao tea comes from the mother tea trees which are over 1000 years and only six of them exist on the planet. Known as the “King of Tea” and a national treasure, in 2006, the Wuyi city government insured the 6 mother trees at a whopping $1,54,61,207.00. The best way to steep Da Hong Pao is by using a Yixing Clay Teapot and 100 °C water. Boiled water should be immediately used or else it affects the taste of the tea. With its unique orchid fragrance, the third and fourth steep are considered to have the best taste.
- Panda Dung Tea- Sold at $70,000 per kg, this particular tea cultivated in the mountains of Ya’an, Sichuan, derives its value from being fertilized by the dung of Pandas. The excrement is chosen for health benefits as pandas eat wild bamboos absorbing only 30% of nutrients. The tea was first cultivated by An Yanshi, a 41-year-old entrepreneur from Sichuan Province. He had begun growing tea using the excrement from pandas living in nearby breeding centers. The excessive rise in price is mostly due to loss in the panda population. Smooth with a nutty taste and distinctive aroma, the key to making the perfect steep of this tea is fine bone china tea accessories from the kettle to the cup. The tea can be steeped multiple times and the number varies with the quality of the batch.
- Pu’erh Tea- The finest and oldest tea is singularly grown in Yunnan Province in Southwest China and can sell up to $10,000 per kg. Made from the leaves of a tree known as the “wild old tree,” the tea is unique as the leaves are fermented instead of being brewed. The tea undergoes controlled microbial fermentation and oxidization till the desire flavors are obtained. Traditionally Pu-erh is usually sold in tightly compressed “cakes” of tea leaves but in recent times, it is sold as loose tea as well which varies the price range. There are many styles to steep a Pu’erh tea. Whether ripe or raw tea cakes, it is necessary to identify the break line to open it. For 3 gms of loose-leaf tea 2 ml of water is recommended with 5 mins of steeping time. Many preheat the cup with hot water to heighten flavor.
- Gyokuru- Originating from the Yame and Uji regions of Japan, this rare green tea, also known as Jade dew, retails at $10,000 per kilo. A shade-grown tea, the cultivation requires it to be away from sunlight, & coverage is increased as it draws closer to the harvest period. The specialty of Gyokuru, apart from the intense labor required for cultivation, is the shading method. Growing in the dark increases the caffeine level content while decreasing the catechin content, affecting the level of astringency taste of the tea making it sweeter. You can brew Gyokuro at various temperatures. Starting from 40°C, which produces a brothy, flavourful and savory liquor, you can steep it at a higher temperature – 65°C ~ 85°C producing cleaner tasting green tea versus brothy.
- Vintage Narcissus Tea- Another famous oolong from the Wuyi mountains, the elegant orchid-like aromatic tea is valued at $6500 per kg. Delicate nature of the tea doesn’t allow it to survive more than 30 yrs, which makes any Narcissus tea past 30 even more rare & precious. Harvested in the Wuyi Mountains it is fired once in two years, which helps the extra moisture to dry out. One of the most exquisite Chinese teas, it is oxidized to about 60%. The Vintage Narcissus leaves produce a wooden, floral, and chocolaty flavor profile. Generally recommended the Gongfu steeping style to display the nuanced aromas, this delicate tea variant can have 5-10 infusions. With initial steep at 1 minute, the steeping time can be increased by 30 seconds for each infusion.
- Yellow Gold Buds- Luxurious & premium, the yellow gold tea buds are harvested once a year using gold shears and then sun-dried. Known as the tea of the emperors of China, the tea is sprayed with real gold and is priced at around $6,500 per kg. After harvest, the tea is sun-dried & placed into closed containers to slightly heat the leaves allowing the release of polyphenols. This gives a yellowish color to the leaves and a very soft and flowery taste. After this, the tea is painted with 24 ct gold flakes! Gold, as believed in Asia, is consumed for its nutritional benefits. For a perfect steep, pour 75°C water over 2.5g of tea leaves per cup and infuse for 3 to 4 minutes. The delicate metallic and floral aftertaste is typical of this expensive steep.
- Badamtam Moonlight White- From the remote tea garden in Lebong Valley, this Darjeeling cup with notes of lilies & mangoes is a prized first flush. At @TeaboxTea , this delectable white tea has been valued and sold at approx $2800/kg making it India’s most expensive tea! Organically cultivated, succulent leaves, from a section exclusive to Teabox at 4800 ft., this speciality tea is a clone called AV2. Elevation, unique terroir, and the climate contribute to the true champagne experience generally attributed to Darjeeling teas. The recommended steep for 2.5 g of this white tea is with water heated at 80°C-85°C and steeped for 5 minutes. Light-bodied and smooth it can be steeped at least 3 times, each producing varying flavors and notes.
- Silver Tips Imperial Tea- Handmade and semi-fermented, the light liquor oolong tea from the Makaibari tea gardens, is a Darjeeling cup that sells at an exorbitant rate of $1850 per kg. The tea comes from special buds, which resemble silver needles & possess a fruity aroma. The garden follows the methods of biodynamic harvesting believing it gives the tea more character. The tea is plucked only in the full moon nights by specially trained women, before the summer solstice, by the light of hand-held torches. The garden recommends natural spring water to steep the perfect cup. Ideally steeped for 3 mins in a porcelain pot, the tea reveals a complex taste with sharp notes of mango and frangipani.
- Manohari Gold Tea- Sold in Assam, Manohari Gold Tea is one of the rare teas manufactured from the finest second-flush colonel tea buds in India. The prized cup is valued and sold with prices beginning at $1050 per kg. Believed to be highly rich in medicinal properties, tea buds with soft golden tips are hand-plucked only at dawn. This ensures that their quality and flavor remain unaffected by the strength of the sun. For a good cup of this Assam tea, the Gongfu steeping style is recommended with a pre-heated cup. With half spoon of tea for half-ounce of water, steeping of 1-2 mins produces an aromatic, bright yellowish, malty tea liquor.
- Tieguanyin Tea- A type of oolong tea named in honor of a Buddhist deity – Guan Yin, also known as the iron goddess of mercy, this tea is regarded for its diversity. Produced in different areas of Anxi yields different gastronomic characteristics and retails at $417 per kg. Grown in the highest regions of Fujian province the leaves are exposed to the sun rays to wither after which they are oxidized and roasted. Depending on the preparation and processing, the leaves can produce a green tea variation, or a longer roasted black tea variation. Grown in the highest regions of Fujian province the leaves are exposed to the sun rays to wither after which they are oxidized and roasted. Depending on the preparation and processing, the leaves can produce a green tea variation, or a longer roasted black tea variation.
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