The Ultimate In Luxury Tea: Pu’erh Sells For Up To $10,000/kg

Pu’erh tea, the finest and oldest tea available, is a serious business for tea drinkers and collectors.

Outside of water, there is no beverage more popular in the world than tea.  According to the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, the average drinker has 11 varieties in their cupboard but today, the hot new trend is luxury tea.

Pu’erh tea is kind of like champagne – it can only be grown in one region of the world  Yunnan Province in Southwest China. Some of the tea trees can be over 1,000 years old.

Pu’erh is regarded by serious tea sippers and collectors (yes there are tea collectors) as the finest, oldest, most pure tea available. And the best pu’erh tea leaves can sell for more than $10,000 US a kilo!

“It’s like a perfume,” says Jeff Fuchs, a tea enthusiast and author featured in the film The Tea Explorer,  “the way the tea hits you. The way it hits your mouth, the way it trails, that feeling of exhilaration.”

The real magic happens after the tea is picked. The leaves are dried and fermented or aged. Over time the tea grows and changes in flavour — much like a fine wine. 

Pu’erh is the king of tea; ancient Chinese history tells us that wars have been fought over it and fortunes have been made because of it.

If you’re lucky enough to snag some, here are some tips on how to brew the perfect cup.

You’ll need to fly to China and visit the massive Mǎliándào tea market in Beijing to find the best pu’erh, where it can be purchased as leaves or in cakes wrapped in paper.

Tip: Can’t afford the time or money to get the tea in China? Check out this Canadian online retailer 6 Mountains Tea based in Vancouver. BC.

Mei, a tea shop maven based in Menghai,  the most tea-centric town in the world, demonstrates her technique. Rinse your cups, boil water to at least 90 degrees C and pour over your leaves.

With fine Pu’erh tea, keep adding water to the same leaves — the bitterness is gone after one infusion, but the flavour lasts for several. 

Sit back and enjoy the sipping. Pu’erh tea is considered a medicine by the Chinese; it’s full of vitamins and has wonderful calming properties. In fact, some people say that if you drink enough Pu’erh, you can even feel a little high.

In The Tea Explorer, Jeff Fuchs travels the ancient Tea Horse Road, a route that traders used to export the tea from China over the Himalayas by mule. 

Learn more on the official website.