Matcha is not the only weird and wonderful way people drink their tea leaves. We trawled the internet and spoke to our fellow foodies about the strange, wonderful, rare or outright crazy teas they’ve had or heard of. The results did not disappoint. Presenting to you, our top 5 picks of the most unusual teas that we found:
- Panda Dung Tea
No there’s no actual dung in the tea, we promise. It’s actually a tea that’s fertilized specifically and only by panda poop. Since pandas absorb only about 30% of the nutrients in their food, the balance 70% is excreted, which is absorbed by the tea plants fertilized by it. An entrepreneur in China started this method, and people actually loved the flavour of the tea!
- Fermented Yak Butter Tea
This one is a Tibetan specialty, perfect for the chilly weather there. After making regular boiled tea from leaves, yak butter and salt (yes it’s a savoury tea!) are mixed with it and stirred continually for hours, until it’s homogenized and looks like a stew. It is said to have a high calorific value and warm up the body from inside.
- Yellow Gold Tea Buds
At around 105 USD for 50gms this tea is equivalent to buying a piece of jewellery! And for a reason – the tea leaves are coated in real 24-carat gold. What’s more it’s grown only on one particular mountain in the world, and harvested on one day every year, with special golden scissors, from a specific part of each plant, and is sold only in Singapore. Phew, talk about exclusive!
This is a type of green tea that is slowly and deliberately aged using fungus – think of It as the blue cheese of teas. This aging is said to give it a depth of flavour and texture that its addicts swear by. Pu-erh is mainly produced in the Yunan district in China, with the government officially only acknowledging teas produced there as authentic Pu-erh.
This one is not as fantastical in its preparation – we’ve included it in this list however as it is by far the most expensive tea available in the world. At the fantastical price of 3,000 USD per kg, this is an oolong tea grown in China. Why is it so expensive? We’re not sure, but it is supposed to bring all five senses into play when it is consumed. Guess we’ll just have to try some to find out!
Special Mention: Kombucha is a Russian tea, famous for its sour taste. It is made from sweet, balck tea fermented with a mixture of yeasts and bacteria. Made famous now in the West by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities, it is supposed to have many health benefits, including boosting immunity.