The 5 Most Expensive Teas In the World

Erika Marty

Tea is beloved in nations across the globe. The Chinese prize black and oolong teas while the Japanese prefer premium green teas such as matcha and gyokuro. The British are known for their love of black tea infusions such as Earl Grey, Indians give preference to chai and South Americans prefer strong brews like yerba mate.

For a world of tea lovers, tea is more than just a beverage. It's a chance to connect with centuries of tradition and undercover exquisite new flavors. For true believers, tea offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy flavor and aroma. That’s why they're willing to pay a premium for the best tea. Discover the world's most expensive teas and find out why each one commands such a high price tag.

The Most Expensive Teas on The Planet

1. Da Hong Pao — $600,000 per pound

Da Hong Pao tea traces its roots back to the Ming Dynasty and is one of the priciest black teas on the planet. Also known as Big Red Robe tea, this Chinese tea embodies the characteristics of the Wuyi Mountains where it is cultivated. It features a layered body with notes of earthy and mineral flavors, brews into a deep red hue, and boasts a lively finish.

The rare tea is so expensive largely because the leaves are harvested from plants that have grown on the mountains for more than 300 years. Most of these old-growth plants last produced true DA Hong Pao in 2005. The result is astronomical prices for some of the dried leaves from these ancient plants. This tea can fetch more than 30 times its weight in gold — one gram of the tea leaves costs $1,400. Many companies sell cheaper versions of Da Hong Pao from newer tea plants cultivated in nearby locations offering a more affordable way of enjoying the flavor and terroir of teas from the Wuyi region.

2. Panda Dung Tea — $35,000 per pound

Panda Dung tea is the tea world's version of kopi luwak — a coffee made from the excrement of Indonesia civet cats. These special tea leaves are fertilized using the dung of panda bears. The pu-erh tea purportedly contains extensive health benefits since pandas only absorb about 30 percent of the nutrients in their diet. The producers believe the other 70 percent of the nutrients — including amino acids and polyphenols — end up in the panda excrement, making a highly nutritious fertilizer for tea plants.

The tea is produced in small quantities by a wildlife expert in the Sichuan Province of China. Panda Dung tea boasts a nutty flavor and malty aroma. The poo poo pu-erh tea should inspire tea lovers who enjoy rich aromas and layered flavors.

3. PG Tips Diamond Tea Bag — $15,000 for one tea bag

PG Tips is a British tea company known for its tasty tea offerings. To celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2005, the tea company released a Darjeeling tea in a diamond-encrusted tea bag. The bag featured 280 2.56-carat diamonds and a delicate white gold chain for easy brewing.

The bag was made by jewelry favorite Boodles and was used to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. The tea bag contains Silver Tips Imperial tea leaves cultivated at the Makaibari Tea Estate in India.

4. Vintage Narcissus — $3,250 per pound

Vintage Narcissus is an oolong tea produced in the Wuyi Mountains. It features yellow gold tea buds and a layered flavor that is unlike any other. The tea derives its name from the Greek hunter Narcissus who found beauty in everything. The oolong tea is heavily oxidized — about 60 percent — resulting in a chocolaty and woodsy flavor with notes of floral and nutty undertones. 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.

5. Tieguanyin Tea — $1,500 per pound

Teguanyin is a type of tea known as oolong tea. It is a true tea that is semi-oxidized and can vary dramatically in flavor depending on where and how it is produced. This particular pricey oolong tea derives its name from the Buddhist deity known as the Iron Goddess of Mercy. The tea originated in the Fujian province during the early 19th century.

Tieguanyin holds the title for the most expensive tea sold in the United Kingdom. The tea can be infused multiple times without developing bitter flavors, making its high price tag a bit more manageable.

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Erika Marty

As a digital nomad, I get to work from anywhere in the world and discover new teas every week. When I'm not working, you can find me mountain biking, hiking, and petting every stray dog I meet.

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