Rich people are gulping down this $10K tea like it’s water

Da Hong Pao leaves (credit: Wikipedia)

Rich people have always spent a lot of money on rare and expensive wines (just check out Bill Koch and his “wine bathroom“), but what about tea?

It turns out that a certain kind of Chinese tea, called Da Hong Pao, is actually more expensive than many of the world’s most expensive wines, and in fact, is worth more than 30 times its weight in gold. This means that a pot of the stuff can cost up to $10,000.

What makes it so pricey? According to the BBC, the most rare and expensive Da Hong Pao tea comes from a small group of ancient trees, which no longer produce any seedlings (though the tea maker, Xiao Hui, prays every year to the tea god, Lu Yu). Unfortunately, the trees haven’t been harvested since 2005, and it is unlikely that they will ever grow tea again. Therefore, what tea they have produced over the years is virtually priceless.

“It looks fit for a beggar, but it’s priced for an emperor and has the heart of the Buddha,” Hui told the BBC. That’s a fair assessment: in 2002 someone paid about $28,000 for just 20g of the stuff.