I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this report in the Telegraph.
The world's most expensive cup of tea is set to go on sale in China at £130 [about US $206] a cup - fertilised with panda dung.
An Yanshi, a 41-year-old former teacher and journalist, is using the bamboo-eaters' manure to help fertilise the organic green tea, which he believes will make the perfect brew.
Tons of panda excrement, obtained from the nearby breeding centres in mountainous Ya'an in Sichuan province, will be used in growing the tea. Each lot of 50 grams will then go for 22,000 yuan (£2,200), which according to Mr An makes for the world's dearest cup of tea.
Most people use about three grams per cup, meaning each one brewed would set one back over £130.
Justifying the rather steep price, Mr An said the profits from the exotic tea would be channelled into an environmental fund. Future batches would also have a lower price tag.
Wearing a panda suit during an event to promote his tea, Mr An offered his gratitude: "I thank heaven and earth for blessing us with this environmental panda tea."
. . .
"Fragrant" and "smooth" was how Mr An described the tea when its pickings were brewed for the very first time.
Some of the invitees, however, were slightly more dubious about the bizarre beverage. "It's sold at such a sky-high price, perhaps this is just hype," said Li Ximing, 49.
'Environmental panda tea' isn't the only expensive dung-related cuppa. Coffees such as Kopi Luwak and Uchunari coffee, which hail from south-east Asia and Peru, can go for as high as £7,875 [about US $12,500] per pound.
The reason for the price tag? The beans come from coffee berries eaten by the civet, a cat-like mammal whose enzymes in its stomach make the eventual brew less bitter. Naturally, the beans must first be picked out of its dung.
There's more at the link.
I don't care how many pandas, civets or other mammals are involved: the day I willingly pay $200-plus for a cup of tea, Miss D. had better take me out back and put me out of my misery!