What Are The Most Expensive Teas In The World?

Apr 4, 2022

The Most Consumed Beverage

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water. Tea leaves are processed by either orthodox or CTC methods. The orthodox method, which is used to make premium teas, involves hand picking and drying the leaves while CTC or cut, tear, and curl uses machines to tear, curl and dry the leaves at high temperatures. This method produces a greater quantity of tea in lesser time

Da Hong Pao — As one of the rarest teas in the world, Da Hong Pao’s price of $1,400 per gram is not surprising. It is a unique oolong tea made only in Wuyi Mountain, Fujian — a region with very unique soil conditions. The leaves are famous for their mineral character that is imparted by the local soil. There are only six mother trees over 1000 years old and they’re known as “The King of Tea” and a national treasure.

In 2006, the Wuyi city government even insured these six precious mother trees at 1.54 million RMB ($237,720 USD). The best way to steep Da Hong Pao is with water heated to 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit and in a Yixing Clay Teapot.

Boiled water should be used immediately to avoid affecting the taste of the tea. One of the most popular oolongs, Da Hong Pao’s third and fourth steeps offer the best taste due to its orchid fragrance.

Panda Dung Tea – What is Panda Dung Tea? It’s a China exclusive tea grown in the mountains of Ya’an, Sichuan Province. The plants are fertilized by the dung of pandas. What makes this tea so valuable is that, unlike humans, pandas only absorb 30% of the nutrients they eat. Legend has it, this tea was first cultivated by An Yanshi, a 41-year-old entrepreneur from Sichuan Province. He began growing tea using the excrement of pandas living at nearby breeding centers.

Why is this tea so expensive and not available in the states? There’s been a steep decline in the panda population over the last two decades. This has resulted in a sharp increase in prices for anything related to the animal. Panda Dung Tea is just one example of an item’s price being sky high and unavailable outside of Asia.

Next: Most Expensive Teas by Region


Pu’erh Tea – Pu’erh is a unique tea because it is fermented instead of brewed. It goes through controlled microbial fermentation and oxidation until the desired flavors are obtained. The tea can be sold in tightly compressed cakes, or loose-leaf, which is usually cheaper. Typically, the range of price for Pu’erh tea cake is $1-$10,000 USD per kilogram. There are many ways to steep a Pu’erh tea, but it is recommended to break the cake and place 3 grams in a cup with hot water that has been preheated at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Many take the time to heat the cup with hot water before steeping to heighten mouthfeel and flavors.


Gyokuro is a very rare green tea originating from the Yame and Uji regions of Japan. The cultivation process has it away from sunlight, making it a shade-grown tea. It’s only grown during the last three weeks of the year, during which time the shading increases the caffeine content while decreasing the catechin content — this affects the taste, making it sweeter. You can brew at different temperatures in order to enjoy your Gyokuro. Starting from 40°C, this produces a brothy, flavourful and savory liquor, so you can steep it at a higher temperature of 65°C ~ 85°C to get a cleaner tasting green tea with less bitterness.

Chinese Tea

Vintage Narcissus Tea – A famous Chinese tea from the Wuyi Mountains, this elegant orchid-esque tea is valued at $6500 per kilogram and is only available for harvesting for thirty years or less. The delicate nature of the tea doesn’t allow it to last more than 30 years. For the few that were harvested in the past year, they are rarer and more precious than ever. Harvested in the Wuyi mountains and fired once in two years, this exquisite tea is oxidized to around 60% and has a lovely, woody, floral and chocolatey flavor profile. Generally recommended to use Gongfu brewing method, it reveals nuanced aromas and can have five to ten infusions. Initial steep time is one minute, but this can be increased by 30 seconds for each infusion if desired.

Yellow Gold Buds – Luxurious and expensive, this yellow tea buds are picked once a year with gold shears and then sun-dried. Known as the tea of the emperors of ancient China, the tea has 24-karat gold flakes sprayed on it. This tea is priced at around $6,500 per kg. The leaves are heated after harvest, which gives them a yellowish color and a very soft and flowery taste. For a perfect steep, pour 75 degrees Celsius water over 2.5g of tea leaves per cup and infuse for 3 to 4 minutes. Your usual delicate metallic and floral aftertaste is typical of this expensive steep.

Types of Darjeeling Teas

Badamtam Moonlight White – Some of you might know this, but Darjeeling tea is considered some of the most expensive in the world. The highest-quality Darjeeling teas can cost up to $3,800 per kilogram. They are so expensive because they are painstakingly cultivated from a particular section of the mountains and processed following organic methods. Darjeeling tea is grown at high elevations, which affects the flavor and therefore creates a true champagne experience. To enjoy this white tea properly, steep it for 5 minutes with water heated to 80°C-85°C. This tea has a light body and a smooth taste, and you can even steep it up to 3 times for different flavors and notes.


Silver Tips Imperial Tea – Handmade and semi-fermented, this $1850 per kg oolong tea is expensive. It’s made from special buds that resemble silver needles and have a fruity aroma. The garden plucks the tea by the light from hand-held torches before the summer solstice, and recommends naturally brewed water to steep the perfect cup. Ideally steeped for 3 minutes in a porcelain pot, this tea has a complex taste with sharp notes of mango and frangipani.

Assam Tea

Manohari Gold Tea – Sold in Assam, Manohari Gold Tea is one of the rare teas manufactured from the finest colonel tea buds in India. Prices for a kilo of this tea start at $1050, and it’s highly rich in medicinal properties. At dawn, these tea buds are hand-plucked and are always soft in color. To create a great cup of this Assam tea, it’s best to use Gongfu steeping with a pre-heated cup. With half spoon of tea per half ounce of water, steeped for 1-2 minutes, the tea will produce aromatic, bright yellowish, malty tea liquor.


Tieguanyin Tea – A type of oolong tea that is named after Buddhist goddess Guan Yin (also known as the iron goddess of mercy). This tea is regarded for its diversity. The tea can cost as much as $417 per kg, depending on where it is grown. The tea leaves are grown in many different regions of the Anxi province, and each region will produce a different taste. One way to make the tea is by withering it in the sun, oxidizing it and then roasting it. Depending on the kind of tea and the processing, the leaves may make a green tea or a black tea.

What did you think of these picks. Are there some better picks for this category? Let us know in the comments. Also, have any of you every tried these teas?

Thanks for reading.

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