Back to the future in Beijing: a very pricey cup of tea and a Peking duck


I was shocked at the price of a cup of the “Super Dahongpao” tea: 118 yuan (about $20). Granted, the markup is assured here in the lobby of the shiny new Crowne Plaza Beijing. But I had to order it, especially after reading in this morning’s China Daily how this very rare tea is changing the lives of farmers in Fujian province. I’m gratified that my indulgence has added to the wealth of farming families that once faced severe debt, and now own multiple luxury Germany sedans!


Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) is the most famous wulongtea. This tea is cultivated from the oldest (over 350 years) and most valuable garden. In fact, this garden only has 5 original bushes left which are constantly guarded.

I’m hoping it will help with the jet lag, having just returned to Beijing after my last trip here in 2011 to keynote an Asian tech conference for PR agency Weber Shandwick. And the price? I was served at least six cups from the same serving of leaves, so it turned out to be well worth the money! (Check out this Wall Street Journal piece on the dahongpao tea bubble from three years ago). Over four hours, I had one productive business meeting, as well as a nice chat with Ivy, the lobby restaurant manager. I think the health benefits are already kicking in…

Brief Health Info  (according to

1、Improvement on immunity: The tea can improve the CONA to stimulate spleen lymphocyte proliferation response, increasing the body’s resistance.

2、Anti-aging: The tea contains tea polyphenols. It can improve the vitality of the whole blood (GSH-PX). It is of benefit in clearing the free radicals and reducing body damage, thereby delay the aging of human body.

3、Effect on weight and beauty: The tea can reduce the blood lipid, cholesterol and tri-glyceride content. It is also helpful to promote the activity of the pancreatic lipase and inhibit the increase of neutral fat.

4、Dental health care: The fluoride content in tea is 27.3-146.6 PPM. The appropriate fluoride can prevent tooth decay and enhance their tenacity.

This evening I joined friends Doris and Don Durfee (Don heads up Reuters News’ operations in North Asia) at the swanky Made in China, in the shadow of the fortress of the Ministry of Finance. They had already pre-ordered the Peking duck for me 24 hours earlier, which is exclusive in its own way (though nowhere as healthy as the tea). It was as delicious as the company was delightful.

Don and Doris Durfee at Made in China restaurant
Don and Doris Durfee at Made in China restaurant