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A Mild Rant About $1,000 Tea

At the risk of seeming a bit insensitive, I’m going to go out on limb here. I’m going to go so far as to say that, if someone can get you to part with $1,000 for a cup of tea, they deserve your money. Perhaps you’re not sensible enough to be carrying around such large sums.

But seriously, folks. Let’s look into this notion of $1,000 tea a little further. According to the local press in South Australia the hoity-toity crowd in and around Melbourne “are regularly paying up to $18 for a cup of tea at some city cafes.” That’s about $16.67 in US dollars, which sounds just a little rich for my blood and by the way that works out to a little more than $3,300 a pound (US) for whatever fine tea they might be serving up down there.

A $1,000 cuppa - worth it? (screen capture from site)
A $1,000 cuppa – worth it? (screen capture from site)

According to the article, this $3,300 a pound delight was “Pre-Quing Ming Mao Jian – made from the first spring leaves of a Chinese tea plant.” I don’t claim to be an expert on all the varieties of Chinese tea but I’m guessing this is a green variety. Unless there’s something truly unusual about I can’t possibly imagine how it could justify such a lofty price tag.

But of course that’s nothing compared to the tea that goes for $1,000 a cup. The article is a bit sparse about the details but apparently it’s served at a high-end Melbourne joint called Vue de Monde and is made from the leaves of “a now-extinct tea plant.” Well…color me not so impressed.

A quick scan of the restaurant’s Web site didn’t turn up any more information on this pricey treat, but you can read more about their tea sommelier here. Who claims that “wine is great with food, but tea is simply greater!” Which is a notion I’m not going to quibble with, but $1,000 a cup tea is a whole different ballgame. Once again, I’ll put this in perspective by pointing out that, if we use the standard measure for tea preparation, this works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $186,000 (US) per pound.

I’ll have to check my bank account, but I don’t think I’ve got that kind of money to shell out for tea right now – and not even a grand for one measly cup, mind you. Even if I did and I found myself in Melbourne I’d probably have to respectfully decline. I’m not convinced there’s a tea on Earth that’s worth that much money – or even one-tenth as much, by golly. But if you’ve got something that you think is that wonderful and you’d like to try to change my mind feel free to send a sample.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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3 responses to “A Mild Rant About $1,000 Tea”

  1. […] money than sense.” But it was a phrase that came to mind, some months back, when I wrote an article that examined (and questioned) the notion of paying $1,000 for a cup of […]

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