Have £500 (CAD$817) to spare on a cuppa tea? A luxury hotel in London has launched the U.K.'s most expensive afternoon tea service, featuring a pot of tea made with leaves handpicked at sunrise in the highlands of Sri Lanka.
It's tea fit for a queen. The experience at The Rubens at The Palace hotel in London involves gold tweezers, gloved service, and a rare tea blend selected by specialist tea merchants at PMD Tea.
Guests take their tea in one of the most extravagant tea rooms in the city, overlooking The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.
What makes the Ceylon Golden Tips tea so expensive? To brew a pot of tea, expert tea pluckers have hand-picked the tips of the plant shoots at sunrise, when the leaves have been anointed by the sun.
The buds are then sun-dried on a velvet cloth. Under the sun's heat and light, the buds turn from silver to gold in color.
As you would expect from a £500 (equivalent to about US$625) tea service, there's a lot of pomp and circumstance to accompany the experience.
The dedicated tea master uses gold tweezers to pick the leaves and weigh them with precision. The tea is infused with still natural mineral water and poured from a silver tea set, in a "white glove" service.
The tea itself is described as "smooth, light and mellow" in texture, with hints of fruity notes. The leaves can be infused up to three times.
A pot of The Rubens Golden Tips Tea serves three cups and comes accompanied with scones, pastries and finger sandwiches.