It's said to be the most expensive cup of tea in the U.K.—and you can find it at The Rubens at The Palace hotel in London.

By Bridget Hallinan
July 15, 2019

You can’t leave London without enjoying an afternoon tea—the tradition is time-honored, providing diners with steaming pots of tea, delicate finger sandwiches and pastries, and of course, crumbly, buttery scones served with pots of clotted cream and lemon curd. It’s a lovely and peaceful experience that hotels and restaurants all over the city offer, from The Milestone Hotel & Residences, which serves a classic tea in the conservatory, to the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson. (Which, as you can deduce, is inspired by Alice in Wonderland.) However, if you’re looking for a truly extravagant experience, look no further than The Rubens at The Palace hotel, which announced on Monday that it now serves what’s touted to be “the U.K.’s most expensive cup of tea.”

Courtesy of The Rubens at The Palace hotel.

Said tea is “Ceylon Golden Tips” from specialist tea merchant PMD Tea, a rare blend that’s produced in the highlands of Sri Lanka—and if you’re tempted to try it, be prepared to shell out £500 (around $626) for a pot at The Rubens. The tea’s buds are hand-picked from the plant at sunrise, which are then sun-dried on a velvet cloth, turning them from silver to gold. According to the announcement, Golden Tips has a “smooth, light, mellow texture with hints of fruity notes. The tea leaves can be infused up to three times, with the flavor profile changing each time for the drinker to enjoy a new depth of flavor.” But is it worth £500? You’ll have to be the judge of that.

The tea will be offered exclusively at the hotel’s Palace Lounge, which sits right by Buckingham Palace and has views of The Royal Mews (aka the stables, where you’ll find the royal collection of stagecoaches and carriages). The afternoon tea team will use gold tweezers to pick up and weigh the leaves; the tea will be infused with still natural mineral water, and poured from a “special silver tea set” with white glove service. For the best flavor experience, you’re recommended to try the tea first before starting on the sandwiches, scones, and pastries, which are included in the £500 fee—each pot serves three cups of tea, after all, so you don’t want to waste the flavor. 

If you’d rather not spend three figures on a pot of tea, the hotel also offers a standard Royal Afternoon Tea for £45.00 per person, or £63.00 with a glass of Champagne. We’ve also highlighted eight teahouses around the world that offer afternoon tea with spectacular views, from Canada to Australia—check them out in our roundup.

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