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People's Daily Online>>China Society

'Panda tea' makes a splash in SW China

(Xinhua)

13:27, March 29, 2012

CHENGDU, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese entrepreneur caught the eyes of Reuters, the BBC and other global media organizations earlier this week when he announced that he would sell the world's most expensive tea, which happens to be fertilized with panda dung.

An Yanshi said his organic green tea is priced at 20,000 yuan (about 3,178 U.S. dollars) per 50 grams, which he claims makes it the most expensive. An grows the tea in the city of Ya'an in southwest China's Sichuan province, also known as the home of the country's giant pandas.

An has been using panda dung as a fertilizer for his tea plants since last September. He said he got the idea after attending a seminar where he learned that giant pandas absorb just 30 percent of the nutrition contained in their food, leading him to believe that the remaining 70 percent must be in the pandas' dung.

"Giant pandas eat organic bamboo without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Therefore, their dung differs from that of other animals," he said.

Last year, An collected panda dung from the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base and leased three tea gardens with which to start his experimentation. After cultivating his plants, An took his tea to a public teahouse in the city of Chengdu to give it an official debut.

The tea was not visibly different from ordinary green tea. However, as An explained, "It is quite different. Chemical-fertilized tea leaves look more yellow, while ours are dark green. And our tea has a rich taste even after being steeped three times."

An describes himself as an "environmentalist panda calligrapher," referring to his love of Chinese painting and calligraphy, as well as his passion for environmental protection.

"My panda tea plantation can teach us all a lesson, that we can turn waste into something useful. We should develop a culture of recycling and using organic fertilizers," he said.

An and his followers previously proposed a ban on killing whales and sharks, as well as a proposal to remove shark's fin from Chinese restaurant menus.

An claims his panda tea can treat and prevent cancer, although the claim has drawn much doubt.

"I invite global scientists to take samples of my tea and conduct research," he said.

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