Care for a Spot of England’s Most-Expensive Tea?

It costs more than $600 and is served with white gloves, golden tweezers and a fabulous palace view.

Anyone stopping into The Rubens at The Palace for tea might want to bring a giant wad of extra bills or a high-limit credit card. The five-star London hotel, overlooking Buckingham Palace, is now offering what it claims is "the most expensive cup of tea in the United Kingdom." Cost? 500 [pounds], or about $626 at today’s exchange rate.

For that you get an experience "fit for Royalty," the hotelier says, featuring PMD Golden Tips tea, historically valued at 1,260 [pounds] (or $3,470 U.S.) per pound – an undeniably hefty price to pay for some tea leaves.

"Fully handcrafted and handpicked by expert tea pluckers at sunset in Sri Lanka, the velvety, silvery tips are carefully turned into gold and sundried on a velvet cloth," promises the Rubens.

The tea is weighed on golden scales on-site at the hotel – by staffers wearing white gloves, naturally – and placed, tip by tip "into the teapot individually with golden tweezers." It is also arrayed for guests to glimpse inside a "mahogany box lined with velvet" and "infused with Belu still water to produce an extraordinary liquour and a smooth, light and mellow texture, with hints of fruity notes."

The tea merchants with whom the Rubens collaborated on the expensive cup, P.M. David Silva & Sons, says the leaves can be infused as many as three times, providing a different flavor profile each time. (Presumably not simply strong, weak and weaker …)

Adding value to the luxurious ritual is the view of the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, a glass of Champagne and the Royal Afternoon Tea, which includes freshly baked scones, pastries and finger sandwiches and is usually priced at 45.00 [pounds] (or about $56) per person. "One stand per serving," the fine print cautions.

For $626, you’d think maybe they’d throw in a few extra finger sandwiches ...

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