Tea cups and tea prices for Guinness Book

The ‘largest tea cup’, with its Guinness record parading the streets of the city in a convoy a week ago, failed to captivate or fascinate the public for obvious reasons. As an on looker commented, people have more important tasks on a Saturday rather than waste time on such puffery and hoopla of multinationals marketing malt drinks, a rival brand can easily ‘brake’ within a few days to enter the Guinness. Though the local response was poor, the chances our tea gaining an image boost up at international markets through such ‘gimmicks’ is fact that has to be admitted.

Let me draw the attention of our readers to more exciting news about tea, something unimaginable. Prices of high-end quality tea manufactured in China as reported in the Asian version of Wall street Journal a couple of weeks ago. A variety named ‘Da-hong-Pao’ made in Fujian, a southern coastal province in China, the Journal quoting the Chinese state TV channel CCTV says, prices of some of the Dahongpao types have sky-rocketed fetching a whopping ( 200,000 yuan ) US $ 30,000/ per Kilogram.

The report further says, "high prices suggest the buyers aren’t in it for the sipping pleasure but instead are purchasing the beverage as an investment". The attraction of Dahongpao is its rarity . Grown in a small mountainous area all genuine Dahongpao come from cuttings of a handful of trees originally planted for the consumption of the imperial family during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

Josh Chin reporting to ‘Life & Style’ section of the Journal says, ‘This is not the first time Chinese tea prices have risen dramatically. A few years ago a smoky-tasting tea from Yunnan Province typically pressed into saucer-sized cakes for storage, underwent a similar transformation from tea-lover’s fetish to luxury-grade investment’.

When the real estate and stock prices drop, craze for Dahongpao increases. New outlets come up, the report says, to serve the high demand, in the town of Wuyi where the tea is produced. Fake varieties of Dahongpao have entered the market too.

K. K. S. Perera

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