The friendly battle between tea drinkers and coffee drinkers as to the superior beverage bears some resemblance to the conflict between dog lovers and cat lovers. While a large swath of the population enjoys both and another segment favors neither, each nevertheless has its proponents who wish to elevate their choice above the perceived opposition.
In light of that, it shouldn’t be surprising that, with a rare coffee gaining international attention due to the involvement of a Southeast Asian animal (as detailed in Poop Coffee), tea drinkers had to strike back with their own innovation – Poop Tea.
This time, however, it’s not civet cats which are proving useful. It’s pandas.
An Yanshi is a Chinese farmer and panda enthusiast who came up with the idea. Because fecal matter is a famed plant fertilizer and because pandas only absorb roughly 30% of the nutrients they consume from bamboo (per Yanshi), An began a business selling green tea which had been fertilized exclusively by panda scat.
The tea is grown in Ya’an, in Sichuan province, using tons of panda fecal matter. It is then harvested, dried and distributed in the standard manner – no actual feces is expected to actually touch any of the tea leaves.
The company has had multiple launches, first in 2012, then in 2015, and again in 2017… each time ironing out issues with production and distribution and dropping the price for the tea, which initially listed for about $200 for the amount of tea required to brew a single cup. As of 2017, the price was a more reasonable $23 for 8 ounces.
It would seem that the worldwide appreciation of pandas does not extend to their excretions.
Question of the night: How do you prefer your tea?