Da Hong Pao, Vintage Narcissus and Tie Guan Yin are the names of just some of the most expensive teas in the world. If you are lovers of this drink, you will undoubtedly be curious to hear something more about the rarest and finest varieties of tea, capable of reaching really inaccessible prices. Here is our selection …
Da Hong Pao
Among the most expensive teas in the world there is the renowned Da Hong Pao, a legendary tea with a head-spinning price: almost 1,400 dollars a gram, more than 30 times the value of its weight in gold. This a variety of oolong tea, a type which is half way between a green tea and a black tea, which comes from the Wuyi mountains in the Fujian province of China, an area particularly well known for growing fine teas. So, what makes this Chinese tea so special? The plants that it is made from are ancient: more than 350 years old and there are only six of these plants left in the world; as if this weren’t enough, the last harvest was in 2005. Actually, there are also other more commercial varieties of Da Hong Pao tea which, in contrast to the precious and expensive type, do not come from the original trees, but from cuttings taken from them.
Like other teas which we will talk about in this article, the origins of Da Hong Pao are also connected to some legends. Da Hong Pao, actually means “big red dress” and there are two stories which try to explain its name, both set in the era of the Ming dynasty. According to the first tale, the tea from these historic plants managed to cure a student, who had become ill during the journey to take an important exam; this young person, in recognition of how the plant had helped him, wrapped the bush in a precious red fabric. According to another legend, however, it was the mother of an emperor of the Ming dynasty who recovered from illness thanks to this precious drink, and the son, as a sign of gratitude, had the shrubs decorated with a big red drape.
The Vintage Narcissus earns its place among the most expensive teas in the world with a value of 6,500 dollars a kilo. This is also an oolong tea which comes from the Wuyi mountains, in the Fujian province of China, which has a very curious story: it is in fact kept in a box half a century old. In the 1960s, this container was taken to Singapore from China and then changed hands many times before returning to Hong Kong, where it was bought by a specialist collector.
Tie Guan Yin
Also the Tie Guan Yin tea is grown in the province of Fujian in China, specifically in the county of Anxi. This another variety of the most famous oolong teas, with one type sold at around 3,000 dollars per kilo. The Tie Guan Yin, also known as Iron Goddess of Mercy, has a floral flavor and is known for the fact that it can be used in infusion up to seven times before losing its flavor.
Its name derives from the Chinese Goddess of mercy Guan Yin and there are legends connected to it. One of these tells the story of a very poor farmer who looked after a temple dedicated to this divinity. One day, the goddess appeared to him in a dream telling him of a place where there was treasure hidden. So, the farmer went to the place indicated in the dream and there he found a plant, he took it and started to look after it. He later decided to prepare a tea using the leaves of the plant and obtained an excellent quality drink, the selling of which brought him wealth and prosperity.
Panda Dung Tea
Let’s conclude this list by talking about Panda Dung Tea, a green tea “invented” in 2011 by the Chinese entrepreneur An Yanshi in the Sichuan province of China. What’s so unusual about this tea ? This man had the idea of growing this tea using panda dung as a fertilizer and, in 2012, he launched it at the price of around 3,500 dollars for 50 grams. The origins of this idea revolve around an unusual aspect of the Panda’s digestive system. This symbolic animal of China, can actually only absorb a very small portion of what it eats; the rest is eliminated in the feces which are apparently a very good fertilizer because they are rich in fiber and nutrients.
If all this talking about tea has made you want to prepare the water for a hot, restoring infusion, take a moment to look at the Filicori Zecchini blends and choose the one you like best.