Da Hong Pao $23,000

November 15, 2011 by staff 

Da Hong Pao $23,000, Question: What is the most expensive tea in the world and where does it come from?
Answer: Believe it or not, it comes from Wuyishan, one hour from where I live.

The most expensive tea in the world is the original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) from Wuyishan in north western Fujian Province in China. In 2002, twenty grams (about 2/3rds of an ounce) of Da Hong Pao sold for 180,000 RMB, which is approximately $23,000 US. The original Da Hong Pao tea trees are over three hundred and fifty years old and the tea has only been available for a public auction three times (1998, 2002 and 2004).

Previously, it has only been offered to government, emperors and religious leaders.

In 1972, Mao Zedong gave President Richard Nixon fifty grams of this tea during his visit to China. Nixon was apparently insulted with such a “small” gift. That was, until someone pointed out that, fifty grams represented half of all the Da Hong Pao harvested that year. Even though now there is more Da Hong Pao Oolong tea on the market, the leaves from the original four brushes are still highly prized. In 2005, a small amount of leaves were auctioned off at almost two million U.S dollars per kilogram. In 2006, the four bushes were insured by the People’s Insurance Company of China for one hundred million RMB, or about fourteen million U.S dollars.

It seems that due to the availability of tea drinks (both hot and cold) in China’s modern society, its Tea Culture is beginning to decline. As my city/school sits deep within one of China’s most famous tea growing areas my school decided to take the inniative and the first steps to help save China’s ‘Tea Culture’. Thankfully they did as not only have many schools is this area followed suite, but schools in other tea growing areas are now adding such classrooms.

So what are these classrooms?
They are Tea Culture classrooms.

Here the students are not only taught the history of tea but also China’s ‘Tea Ceremony’ which though not as extravagant as Japan’s, it does exist. They are taught how to clean and prepare the tea items prior to pouring and then serving. They are then taught how to play several of the musical instruments that are part of such a ceremony and not only is the school very proud but the students are more than happy to be taught a part of what China is famous for but also to take it proudly into the future.

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