Last time we looked at expensive tea. Now let’s find the most expensive coffee.
In searching for the world’s most expensive coffee, Jody Victor® found that there were 2 different coffees making that claim. Let’s look at both of them.
First, we have Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee. It is made from beans of coffee berries previously eaten by the Asian Palm Civet then passed through their digestive tracts. The civet eats the fleshy pulp of the berry and the civet’s enzymes seep into the beans in the digestive tract. They are then eliminated and keep their shape. They are washed, sun-dried, roasted and brewed. Prices reach $160-$240/pound.
Second is Black Ivory Coffee from Thailand. It is said to be served at only 4 resorts in the world. Three in the Maldives and one in Thailand. The price is about $1,100/kilo (or $499/pound) – about $50/cup. The elephants are raised in a natural reserve and 8% of proceeds go to the Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. They are fed only Thai Arabica coffee beans gronw at about 5,000 feet altitude. They need more than 72 pounds of coffee cherries to make 2.2 lbs. of coffee beans.
Well, Jody, are you going to try these coffees?
Jody Victor® searched the internet to find out what “Panda” tea was. This is what Jody found:
It is an oolong tea called Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) and is from Wuyi China. In 2004, about 2/3 oz. sold for about $21,000 (about $200/cup today). The original Da Hong Pao tea trees and are over 350 years old. This tea was available by public auction only 3 times. Usually it is only available to top leaders. It is also known as the most expensive tea in the world.
President Nixon was given 50 grams in 1972 during a visit to China. He at first was insulted by such a small gift until someone told him that 50 grams was about 50% of all the Da Hong Pao tea harvested that year.
There are only 3 of the original trees left. Every year when the tea is harvested from these trees, a portion goes to the president of China and the rest goes to public auction.
There are now available genetic clones of the tea that come from trees made from cuttings of the original trees. This makes secondary Da Hong Pao tea more readily available at a more affordable price for consumers. Beware of sellers claiming that their tea is from the original trees. You most likely won’t be able to afford it.
So where do the pandas come in? Pandas don’t absorb much of the nutrients they eat (only about 30%) so the rest is evacuated. Their dung is used as a fertilizer for the tea leaves.
Jody Victor isn’t so sure he want to try this too soon!