Crunching the Numbers

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The other day I enjoyed a good, long Great Uncle style session with White2Tea’s Daily Drinker, and got to wondering how much the tea I had drunk had actually cost when compared to an average quality tea bag, such as PG Tips.

I had managed to get 8 rounds in total out of the 5 grams of leaves I had teased out of the beeng. Given the 300 ml capacity of the cup I use to steep Great Uncle style, that amounts to a healthy 2400 ml of tea broth.

Those 5 grams of leaves represented 1/40th (0.025) of the 200 gram beeng cha, which at US$19.00 for the entire cake meant the session’s leaves had cost a mere 48 cents!

Given the 2400 ml yield, this worked out to 20 cents per litre, or for the purposes of comparison 1.85 Swedish Crowns per litre!

The PG Tips available at our local supermarket retail for 22.50 Swedish Crowns for a packet of 40 bags.

Assuming that 1 such teabag makes an average mug of tea with a capacity of 2.5 dl, you would need 4 bags to make a litre.

The packet of 40 bags therefore would yield 10 litres of finished tea, giving a per litre price of 2.25 crowns.

That means that the PG Tips works out to be more expensive than the Pu-erh!

This result then got me wondering about just how true James Norwood Pratt‘s belief that even a tea labelled as expensive can be about the same price or even cheaper than Coca Cola actually was.

Just about the most expensive tea I have ever bought is Anji Bai Cha, for which I paid the equivalent of 480 Swedish Crowns / 100g.

A typical session with this tea uses 6 grams of leaf, or 29 Swedish Crowns’ worth.

When steeping the tea gong-fu style in a 150 ml gaiwan I usually manage to coax 11 rounds out of the tea, a yield of 1650 ml.

That gives the Anji Bai Cha a price of 17.57 Swedish Crowns per litre.

Our local supermarket sells 6 x 250 ml multi-packs of Coca Cola for 53 Swedish Crowns, or 35.34 Swedish Crowns per litre, so it does indeed look as though JNP was right! Half the price of Coke. Sort of puts the price of the Anji Bai Cha into perspective, doesn’t it…?

Yes, it’s a bit of a back-of-an-envelope calculation, but I still think it shows that as well as a huge advantage quality wise, even a loose leaf tea described as “expensive” offers genuine, good old fashioned value for money…

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