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A brew that’s hard to bear

A Chinese entrepreneur is preparing to sell organic panda dung tea for $200 a cup.

Panda

Tea anyone? Image: RickWeiss

Just when you thought the level of health fads had reached the top of the whacky ideas tree, enter a Chinese businessman who's really getting to the bottom of the health drink industry with an extraordinary new blend of organic panda dung tea.

Entrepreneur An Yanshi cultivates the tea in the mountainous area of Ya'an in Sichuan province, using truck loads of nutritious panda bear excrement from the province's famous  breeding centres. An hopes to sell the funky brew at $200 a cup, making it the world's most expensive tea, stating he will funnel some of the profits from the first batch back into an environmental fund. The first batch will be distributed in 50 gram bags, each priced at a modest 22,000 yuan ($3,500) a bag - around 17 cups-worth.

When asked to justify the steep price, An cited various health benefits, claiming that pandas absorb less than 30% of the nutrition from their food, which means that 70% of the nutrients are passed out as waste, making them a perfect fertiliser and, apparently, a perfect brew. An says he wants to “convey to the people of the world the message of turning waste into something useful.”

At his mountainside plantation, dressed in a panda suit, the budding businessman hosted a gathering with a dozen or so guests to help him hand-pick the tea. Although An was personally satisfied with the “fragrant and smooth” bouquet, some of his guests were less sure, dismissing the tea as “just hype”.

Fancy a cuppa? Not for all the panda dung tea in China!

Tags: And finally, China, China and finally

Published 26th March, 2012

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