What Makes This Pot of Tea Cost $625?

Courtesy The Rubens at the Palace

Served at The Rubens at The Palace in London, this pot of tea is served with a velvet cloth and white gloves are involved. 

It’s no surprise that Brits take their tea seriously. But one luxury hotel in London really thinks it something special. The Rubens at The Palace now offers a pot of tea that costs £500 (about $625).

While the five-star luxury property has always hosted their Royal Afternoon Tea for £45 ($55), they decided to make their traditional experience all that more regal by adding the pricey pot to the menu. Now, in addition to queen-inspired pastries, biscuits, and finger sandwiches, you can order a pot of the rare tea, called Golden Tips, produced in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

The hotel, which overlooks The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, partnered with high-end tea merchants PMD Tea to source the unique blend that sold for an unprecedented price of about £10 per pound in 1891, which equates to £1,260 ($1,500) per pound today. Why so pricey? Well, experts hand-pick only the tips of the tea plant, which are then sundried on a velvet cloth turning the buds from silver to gold.


Courtesy The Rubens at the Palace

“With white-glove service, this delicate tea is weighed with precision at The Rubens using golden scales; each tip is placed into the silver teapot individually with golden tweezers,” reads the description on the property’s website. “The tea, which is showcased in a mahogany box lined with velvet, is infused with still mineral water to produce an extraordinary liquor and a smooth, light, and mellow texture, with hints of fruity notes.”

If that doesn’t make you feel like a royal for the afternoon, the treats that come with the tea (guests are encouraged to enjoy the rare pot before the Royal Afternoon tea) will. The Rubens Chocolate Cake, for example, is one of the favorites of the Queen. She’s said to have a piece each night before bed. It also happened to be Prince William’s groomsmen cake when he married Kate Middleton.

Interested in trying some? Afternoon tea is available from noon to 5 p.m. every day but Saturday when it’s offered until 6 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.