The Price of Tea in China

By, Jadyn Miller

Prescott AZ- Many of us have heard the phrase “the price of tea in China”, but have you ever stopped to think about the actual price of tea in China? What are people on the other side of the world paying for their tea, and when did we start caring about it?

The use of this phrase began in 19th century England, where the price of tea in China was of great interest to people. If someone was talking about something that others thought was irrelevant, they would say, “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Nowadays, this saying may not be as relevant, but we are still left with the question, what is the common price of tea today?

The answer to this is quite complex. There are several factors that contribute to the price. Four major factors in the pricing of tea are, the quality of the tea, the quantity available, the type of tea, and also the Chinese economy.

The quality of the tea is a large part of how it is priced. The quality of the tea changes based on things like its growing environment, how it is processed, its smell, its color, and its flavor. You can get tea for about 10 US dollars for 250g of tea (250g of tea makes about 100-125 cups of tea). That is for tea of average quality. High-quality tea can cost as much as 1000 US dollars for 500g. There is also a whole range of prices between, depending on how good of the quality of tea you want.

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Another major factor in the pricing of tea in China is the quantity available. If there is not a lot of a particular type of tea available, then it drives up the price for that tea. One example of this is one called Puerh tea. This tea is a type of fermented tea and is stored for as long as two years before it is sold. It comes in very small quantities of good quality tea, and as a result, it is hoarded like gold. The most basic principle to go by would just be, the more available of that tea, the lower the cost.

One big part of the pricing of tea in China is what type of tea. For example, if you get a common tea like green tea, no matter what quality you buy it, it is bound to be cheaper than a rare tea like Da-Hong Pao tea, which sells for 300,000$ for 250g. This is one of the major factors that cause the most difference in tea prices.

The fourth major factor is simply the economy of China at the time. For example, if the economy is not doing very well compared to usual, the price of tea will, naturally, be higher. If the economy is doing better, then you will most likely be able to get the same tea a little bit cheaper. It may not seem like it is as big a factor as some of the others, but the economy is what drives the prices up and down, and dictates some of what teas you may buy.

Although the phrase “the price of tea in China” is usually only used as an expression, there is very real meaning behind it. And though it is from long ago, it still has very real meaning today, even if that meaning does not seem as important.