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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Spring tea price higher than gold

By Xie Yu (China Daily)

08:49, March 23, 2012

As the season for new teas approaches, famed Chinese brews are being sold at ever-rising prices and turning into a new "luxury" good.

Although the picking has not yet started, a pre-sale of the first batch of West Lake Longjing - a renowned roasted green tea - drew a bid of 180,000 yuan ($28,500) for 500 grams at an auction in Hangzhou, according to China National Radio.

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and the origin of the tea, which is also known as "dragon well tea".

Picking of the first Longjing will start in a day or two, and media and tea experts estimate that top-quality Longjing will be sold at 40,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan per 500 grams this year, about 25 percent higher than last year.

Meanwhile, the price for other famous spring teas, like Spring Snail or Melon Seed, will be as high as 20,000 yuan per 500 grams.

Huang Xiaoping, vice-chairman of the tea association in Chun'an County, Hangzhou city, said it is not a surprise that West Lake Longjing went for such a high price - higher even than gold.

"It enjoys the highest status among China's famous teas, mainly due to its long history and literary connections. Furthermore, it is now grown in a designated area around the West Lake, so the output is limited," he said.

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