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Top 12 Most Expensive Tea Types In The World: Da-Hong Pao vs Tieguanyin

teaTea is considered to be one of the oldest beverages in the world. There’s hardly any place on the planet where tea is not served. Throughout the ages various types of teas were used as vital elements of celebrations, ceremonial drinks or even life enhancers. There are also at least several crucial points in history that were directly related to tea. For example the First Opium War or the famous Boston Tea Party, which ignited the American Revolutionary War.

There is no denying that tea is a drink that is embedded deeply in many cultures, although history suggests that drinking tea originated from China. Today, there are many brands of teas manufactured and distributed to many tea lovers all over the world, indicating that tea is a positively booming business.

Howver, tea leaves in their raw form can be very expensive and this list ranks the priciest of them all. Check them out.

12. Gao Shan Tea – $150-$250 per kilo

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Grown at 4,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, in the high elevation tea gardens of Taiwan’s mountains, Gao Shan teas are extremely rare. The location and the climate severely limits the cultivation of the tea plans and production of the leaves. Still, people clamor for Gao Shan’s unique taste and aroma and they are more than willing to part ways with their money to have a batch of this seasonal tea.

11. Tienchi Flower Tea – $170 per kilo

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While traditional tea leaves are harvested from Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia, the Tienchi Flower tea is derived from the flowers of Panax notoginseng. Originating from Yunnan Province in China, the Tienchi Flower tea has been used by ancient Chinese to fight insomnia, dizziness, and skin rashes. Even its root is said to have medicinal properties. A kilo of the Tienchi flowers is worth $170 in the market.

10. Silver Tips Imperial Tea – $400 per kilo

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This popular variety of tea is widely renowned for its color as well as very special and robust flavor. Cultivated in the heart of the Himalayas around 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, the tea leaves are harvested and sent to the Makaibari Tea Estate, in Darjeeling, India the first tea factory in the world.

9. Gorreana Broken Leaf Black Tea – €405 per kilo

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Gorreana boasts of being the oldest and the only remaining tea plantation still operational in Europe. Among their exquisite products is the highly expensive Broken Leaf Black Tea. Broken Leaf teas are made from specific leaves – the third leaf of the tea plant branch. It has a gentle light copper color and bursts with a fruity aroma.

8. Gyokuro Tea – $650 per kilo

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While most tea leaves undergo a grinding process, Gyokuro tea leaves do not. Instead, the leaves are shielded from the sun for two weeks prior to harvest. This phase spikes up the amino acid contents of the leaves which gives the tea a sweeter flavor as well as a unique aroma. Gyokuro tea leaves are cultivated in Uji district, Japan and costs $650 per kilo.

7. Poo Poo Pu-Erh Tea – $1,000 per kilo

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It is what the name suggests. This particular tea is made from droppings of insects that fed on tea leaves in Taiwan. Farmers have to use tweezers and magnifying glasses to pick the droppings as they are very small. This type of tea is said to have been invented in the 18th century as a gift to the Chinese Emperor Qianlong.

6. Yellow Gold Tea Buds – $3,000 per kilo

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The price tag for this kind of tea is not actually surprising, as the leaves are lightly sprayed with 24-carat gold. Although the teas receive its golden color artificially, it is still fit for human consumption. The harvesting process also justifies the price. Farmers cut the leaves from the shrubs using golden shears. Harvesting is only done one day every year, making the yellow golden tea buds extremely rare.

5. Tieguanyin Tea – $3,000 per kilo

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This rich oolong tea is named in honor of Guan Yin, a deity in Buddhist religion known as the iron goddess of mercy. The leaves are crisp to the touch and are bright golden in color. It is said that the leaves can be brewed seven times before losing its strong chestnut flavor. In today’s market, a kilo of Tieguanyin Tea leaves is worth $3,000.

4. Vintage Narcissus Wuyi Oolong Tea – $6,500 per kilo

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Created more than 500 years ago, this tea was named after the Greek legend of Narcissus, although the leaves are grown and harvested on Mount Wuyi, in Fujian Province in China. A particular box of this tea was exported from China to Singapore and travelled all the way to Hong Kong where it was sold to a Chinese tea collector. A kilo of the Narcissus Wuyi Oolong tea is worth a whopping $6,500 per kilo.

3. Panda Dung Tea – $70,000 per kilo

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For those who love exotic drinks and beverages, the Panda Dung Tea may just be a perfect treat to warm their chilly days. Made from the droppings of panda bears who are fed with tea leaves and wild bamboo, it is said that panda dung tea is rich in nutrients.

2. PG Tips Diamond Tea Bag – $15,000 per tea bag

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The contents of the bag consist of Silver Tips Imperial Tea, already an expensive type of tea leaves. But what makes this product special is the packaging. Each bag are crafted with 280 pieces of diamonds and are handmade by Boodles jewelers. This particular product was in commemoration of the company’s 75th anniversary.

1. Da-Hong Pao Tea – $1.2 million per kilo

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It is hard to imagine that tea leaves can be worth a million bucks or more. But for those who are in the tea business, it is a reality. A kilo of Da-Hong Pao Tea leaves is valued at $1.2 million per kilo. The reason? This type of tea dates back to the Ming Dynasty and has been declared a national treasure by the Chinese government. Usually given as a gift to important individuals such as luminaries, honorable people, and celebrities, the process of making Da-Hong Pao Tea remains a secret tightly guarded by the Chinese.

Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.

2 Comments »
Rajnish says:

Is there a market for Himalayan tea from 100 year old organic tea garden?

Reply to this comment »
Reginald Williams says:

I can vouch for the extraordinary quality of Uji gyokuro (Japan) and some of the best Pu-er teas (but not the “poopoo” variety. I would recognize either blindfolded and find them both to be of extraordinary quality. I’m willing to pay those prices any time to drink that quality of tea. (By the cup, not really so expensive. )

Reply to this comment »

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