TWG makes Singapore's most famous tea, and I had the good fortune of attending the opening day of their ION Orchard tea shop, where you can sample 400 teas from their 800-plus tea collection and purchase not only tea, but macaroons and tea accessories, as well.
Naturally, as a Luxist writer, I went straight for the gold -- the Yellow Gold Tea Buds (above), that is. Tea number T601 is not only TWG's, but the world's most expensive tea. Why? Because it's difficult to get -- and painted with actual gold.
I spoke for a bit with TWG tea connoisseur Alexandre Mallochet (his hand is pictured) about the tea and why it is so valuable -- $150 Singapore for 50 grams (that's about $105.71 -- and a typical teabag is about 2 grams, so that's 25 cups of tea).
To start with, it's only harvested on one mountain, one day per year. "This tea is harvested exclusively with golden scissors and only from the top of the tree which is the tea bud. It's then sun dried and placed into closed containers to slightly heat the tea leaves so they can release the polyphenols that they contain and give a yellowish colour to the leaves and a very soft and flowery taste," said Mallochet. The tea is then painted with 24 carat gold flakes which, in Asia, are considered very good for you, and give the tea a beautiful golden shimmer. Mallochet claims that the gold provides nutrition, as well -- it's a mineral, after all.
"It's the tea of the Emperors of China and it is still today very complicated to find some. TWG can access to this tea thanks the privileged relationships we cultivated through the years of sourcing tea plantations worldwide."
At this time, the tea is not available online, so you'll have to find a shop near you or go to Singapore to find some. You'd better hope the dollar keeps rising!
Even in this economy, tea, for the most part, is one area where consumers continue to go gourmet. For more information check out Daily Finance's recent piece on gourmet foods still selling well.
This trip was paid for by the Singapore Board of Tourism, but the views expressed within the post are 100% my own.