Chinese Man Grows World's Most Expensive Tea from Panda Dung


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These days pandas are doing more than just eating bamboo and practicing kung fu. One panda in China's Sichuan Province is now mastering the art of tea farming. Here's the story of this panda's unusual contribution to tea drinking.

When people think of China, images of pandas are likely to come to mind, but not necessarily their dung—until now.

Former calligraphy teacher, An Yanshi has been cultivating a special green tea that is grown almost exclusively in the excrement of the iconic bears. He says Panda dung makes an excellent fertilizer, because Pandas only absorb about 30% of the nutrients from the food they consume, which leaves the other 70% left in the feces and available to nurture plant life. Also, says An, the dung is organic by nature. Pandas eat a diet composed exclusively of wild bamboo.

[An Yanshi, Panda Tea Creator]:
"The digestive and absorption abilities of the panda are not good. They keep eating and they keep producing feces. They are like a machine that is churning out organic fertilizer."

But before you get too excited about trying a cup of this exotic brew, consider the price—about $1,500 - $3,000 per pound. Just exactly how much you pay depends on the grade. The first harvest in early spring will be the priciest and most prized by tea lovers.

[An Yanshi, Panda Tea Creator]:
"The limited first batch of tea grown from panda dung is the most expensive. The next most expensive type would be the premium tea collected from the second picking to before the Qingming Festival. They would be sold for around 20,000 yuan (3,165 U.S. dollars) per 500 grams. Tea collected after the Tomb Festival would be sold at around 10,000 yuan (1,582 U.S. dollars) per 500 grams. These prices are not considered expensive as compared to organic tea sold in China."