Connoisseurs have long relished exploring the world of tea, whose complexity and variety easily rivals that of wine. But now a wider audience is learning to appreciate the beverage. Tea sales have been steadily on the rise over the past several years, with consumers seeking out rarer and higher-end varieties.
For tea drinkers interested in venturing beyond Earl Grey, here are four unusual teas to try:
Da Hong Pao
Grown in the Wuyi Mountains of China’s Fujian province, some Da Hong Pao teas can sell for as much as US$1,400 per gram. This is because just a handful of the original trees that produce the tea leaves remain, and for connoisseurs, only tea from these trees (or their offspring) will do. Many vendors who claim to offer the tea are in fact selling blends of other, similar teas. Finding the real deal requires buyers to do their research and ask producers about their tea’s source. But even Da Hong Pao blends can be complex and satisfying; Quality versions have sweet, fruity aromas, dark hues, and rich, toasty flavors.