For most people, tea is meant to be drunk. However, for true connoisseurs and collectors, tea is not just for drinking; it is an art and a collectible.
In May 2019, Central Tokyo hosted an auction called "Four Seasons Listening to Tea and Smelling the Fragrance" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.
One of the highlights of this auction was a 100-year-old tea called "1920 Ziping Fu Yuanchang". This tea eventually sold for an astonishing HK$26.32 million, which is equivalent to €3,154,000 or three million one hundred and fifty-four thousand euros.
This sale set a new record in the Pu'er tea industry and showed that tea, especially rare and old varieties, is highly valued by collectors.
What makes this specific Pu'er tea so valuable compared to other types of tea?
Pu'er tea is known for its unique fermentation process and ability to improve with age, similar to how wine ages. The specific "1920 Ziping Fu Yuanchang" tea is 100 years old, meaning it has undergone a century of maturation, giving it a rich and complex flavor. Furthermore, the rarity of such an old tea is an important factor in its value. The origin, production method and storage history can also contribute to the unique qualities and therefore the high price of this tea.
How has the history and origin of Pu'er tea contributed to its current status and value?
Pu'er tea has a long and rich history, especially in Chinese culture. It has been produced in the Yunnan province of China for centuries. Over the centuries it became an important trade product and was even given as a tribute to emperors. The historical significance and traditional production methods of Pu'er tea have given it a certain status and prestige. In addition, the recent revival of interest in traditional and artisanal products has increased the demand for authentic Pu'er tea, contributing to its high value.
What are the factors that influence the price of rare teas such as Pu'er at auctions?
Several factors can influence the price of rare teas such as Pu'er at auctions. The age of the tea, its rarity, quality of processing, storage history and origin are some of the most important factors. In addition, supply and demand play a crucial role. If there is a limited supply of a particular rare tea and there is high demand from collectors and connoisseurs, the price can rise significantly. The reputation of the brand or producer, as well as the authenticity and certification of the tea, can also influence the price. Finally, the setting of the auction itself, such as the presence of wealthy bidders or international buyers, can influence the final sale price.