The most expensive tea in the world is the original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) from Wuyi China. In 2002, 20 grams (about 2/3rds of an ounce) of Da Hong Pao sold for 180,000 RMB, which is approximately $23,000 US. In 2004, this same quantity sold for 166,000 RMB, or about $21,000. The original Da Hong Pao tea trees are over 350 years old. The tea has only been available for a public auction sale three times (1998, 2002 and 2004). Previously, it has only been offered to leaders of government, emperors, religious leaders, etc. In 1972, Mao Zedong gave President Richard Nixon 50 grams of this tea during his visit to China. As the story goes, Nixon was apparently insulted with such a "small" gift. That is, until someone pointed out that 50 grams represented 50% of all the Da Hong Pao harvested that year. Fortunately for tea connoiseurs, cuttings (i.e. genetic clones) of Da Hong Pao have been taken from the original plants and grown commercially. Due to this clonal propagation, "secondary" Da Hong Pao tea is readily available at an affordable price to everyday consumers.
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