The $20 Bottle of Tea

$20 bottle of tea

We were at Whole Foods (AKA Whole Paycheck) yesterday and there was a sampling station set up for Golden Star Tea. The sample girl asked if I wanted to try it and I accepted. The tea was one of the best Jasmine teas I’ve ever tasted and I decided to grab a bottle and add it to the rest of our groceries. I didn’t brother to look or ask what the price of this bottle of tea was because I figured it’s just tea. How much can it possible cost? It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the bill and found out the bottle tea cost $20!

At this point I’m wondering what the hell goes into a $20 bottle of tea? So, I fired up the web browser and found the Golden Star Tea website. The website looks like it’s trying to sell a fine wine instead of a bottle of tea. Ingredients wise, the White Jasmine contains only three items; filtered water from the Central Sierra mountains of California, raw organic sugar cane juice and organic jasmine silver tea needles from the mountains of the Fujian Province in China.

The Golden Star Tea was created so consumers would not have to choose between a beverage that is sophisticated and one that is non-alcoholic. The tea is made with a fermentation process so it bubbles and has a taste almost like champagne but it’s clearly tea.

$20 bottle of tea

Golden Star has won two awards for its White Jasmine tea at the World Tea Expo. Yes, there is a such an expo! I’m not 100% convinced that this tea is worth $20 but it does create interesting dinner conversations. All I know is, the next time I shop at Whole Paycheck, I’m checking the price first!

BTW – while I paid $20 for this bottle of tea at Whole Foods in West Vancouver, you can buy it online at the Golden Star Tea site for $12.95US. However, you have to purchase a minimum of four bottles. Cheers!

102 thoughts on “The $20 Bottle of Tea”

  1. Only an idiot would knowingly pay $20 for a stupid bottle of wine!

    1. That’s why it’s only tea. πŸ˜‰

      1. Money-Era says:

        This is called marketing and smart sales.
        You sell something for a sky rocket price, nicely wrapped, in a nice surrounding (fine restaurant)…
        And this is how The Smart make ten fold profits πŸ™‚

        1. This one is showing that there is buyer for everything … you should know the art of selling.

          1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

            Yeap, there is buyer for all the products out there. People who loves coins collecting, they would buy no matter how expensive is that; for a people who doesn’t know the art of this, they will call it a waste.

          2. LOL @ all the losers trying to get their comments to the top by replying to my comment with irrelevant things

          3. You son of beach … stop showing your attitude here … otherwise we will put you back there from where you come.

          4. I’d like to see you try, loser!

          5. Apparently he likes to call people losers. His own newsletter sign up is a call to action for all his ‘loser’ traffic

          6. Heheheheh! Jerky Boy! It’s been a while. I rmember you frequenting Shoemoney’s blog a few months ago.

            As a result of the comments aggregating around the first responce Jeremy actually inverted the sequence, so that the last post is always on top. It is a clever move in my opinion.

            Anyways, nice checking you’re still around and keeping everybody on their toes πŸ˜‰

          7. It’s all in the attitude of the Rich Jerk, it’s just marketing.

          8. I have a site on collecting gold coins and some people pay more than $1,000 each for some coins. But hey, if you can eventually make money from that investment, who cares home much it costs.

          9. nathan says:

            That’s the usual reaction that you get if the person doesn’t have an experience in selling anything yet. It’s true, you have to learn the art of selling as @ZK said..

    2. Yeah I used to think the same thing. But once you get into it, wine tasting that is, most cheap bottles of wine taste like junk. I know you won’t believe me, but you might someday if you start drinking wine.

      1. They said that price did not cheat the taste.

    3. It’s not wine, it’s tea. And i completely beg to differ about buying a bottle of wine. While I do think $300 is a little excessive for a bottle of wine, there are many bottles of wine $50-$100 that I would happily buy at that price!

      1. My wife and I used to get a nice bottle of win from Hungary ever time she went there. We were finally able to find it here in the States and it cost about $40 for a smaller than normal bottle. It’s the best wine I’ve ever tasted in my life and well worth it on a special occasion.

    4. Lots of wine costs way more than $20 a bottle.

      1. Yah, and I once hear that an old wine will cost much.

        1. The older a wine becomes, the more the taste matures and develops. The wine becomes more complex in a sense, until it plateaus and then it loses its taste.

          1. …..and eventually turns into very expensive vinegar….hahahahah

          2. Exactly. And then I guess you use it for cooking.

          3. I really want to try that kind of wine.

    5. Lots of idiots pay $89 a month for Acai berry pills that you can’t even taste and they don’t do crap!

      1. Yep that is the magic of marketing …. and that’s why more and more people started to promote acai berry …

        1. The only magic is the magic of the money that is to be made in promoting offers that are actually worthless. Snake oil salesmen is the phrase that springs to mind.

          Now how did we get to acai berries from fermented tea at $20 a pop for a bottle?

        2. nathan says:

          It’s basically marketing that makes the difference. A similar object may differ in price when marketing has done its magic..

    6. Casey says:

      Maybe the bottle itself costs at least $xx, who knows. Anyway, $20 for a bottle of tea…..I will pass.

    7. You do not buy the tea, but the luxury, i think.

      1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

        As Casey said, maybe the bottle itself costs $18.90 and the tea costs $1.1. But the bottle looks unique, an outsider goes there would buy it as souvenir. πŸ˜‰

  2. David says:

    Just goes to show you that there is still room for premium products & pricing.

    No doubt, they will sell some tea, especially with the sample strategy. But I wonder who their repeat buyers are.

    I plan on heading up to the Central Sierras this weekend, and though I won’t be drinking tea, I will be drinking from the pristine streams on my hike, and then having a Sierra Nevada beer when I get back to the cabin!

    1. rightly said, there are people who can sell ice cream at Everest .

      -Shanker Bakshi

      1. Yes you can sale Ice Cream because this is different from ICE and its have cream which have some different value … but selling ice at Everest is tough task …

      2. Lee Ka Hoong says:

        That would be cool if someone sells ice cream at Everest, I believe that he will be making lots of money because he is the 1st people who sells ice cream at Everest. lol!

      3. nathan says:

        Well, this is true. The ice cream just need to have that unique attribute or something creative to be sold. Simple but needs thorough thinking..

  3. $20 for a bottle of tea is just ridiculous, where do they get over charging that much for it?

    1. Friend … if you can afford it than nothing is costly for you …

    2. $15 for luxury i think. πŸ˜†

  4. At least the bottle looks really nice. Not worth $20 though

    1. How can you say so unless and until you taste it …

    2. nathan says:

      As the saying goes: don’t judge the book by its cover. Well, there’s no harm in trying. Anyways, drinking tea is believed to be good for someone’s health.

  5. I see a lot of gargbage sold for thousands of dollars online when the actual price should be a lot lower.

    I imagine you can sell anything at any price, as long as the marketing and positioning is there, it doesn’t really matter.

    1. Money-Era says:

      Yes, this is what selling is all about: finding the buyer for the product.

    2. nathan says:

      I think that if a product has supplied a demand, consumers would be willing to pay for it even though the price may seem to be outrageous.

  6. Susan says:

    When people are more than willing to pay $1.50 or more for a bottle of water it doesn’t surprise me that there’s a bottle of tea that costs $20.

    1. Wp templates says:

      Come to think of it, you are absolute right.

    2. I bought a bottle of water for $3 at the Space Center a week ago because I was thirsty and there weren’t any water fountains around. I guess it just depends what frame of mind you’re in, no?

      1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

        You know I didn’t even want to buy a bottle water at $1.99 in my country, it’s too expensive. It used to be $0.30 for a 1.6L bottle of water. $20 for a bottle of tea, not worth it, but the bottle looks cool. πŸ˜€

        1. Than pay rest of the balance for the good look of bottle πŸ™‚

          1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

            Haha yeap, but as John mentioned above, that was the best jasmine tea he never had before, perhaps the price is reasonable, but not affordable. lol!

          2. nathan says:

            Moral Lesson.. “If you drink a tea that’s so tasty, be sure to check on its price because you might end up searching about what the heck did you spend your money on.” LOL

  7. raul says:

    Wow $20, per bottle,maybe the packing is good & elegant, but its to much ha..when we converted peso in the Philippines..

  8. $20 for huge bottle of tea is out of my mind.

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      Haha it goes same to me, for people who doesn’t know its’ art and doesn’t how to appreciate it..the bottle of tea is nothing for us..or it costs only $1.99 in our! πŸ˜€

      1. Well … this is the magic of money my friend … if you have than you can spend it as per your will.

        If you have limited budget or you are still a good earner with the mentality of saving than you will never able to buy such tea bottles.

        1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

          Yea, the life of a poor man and as rich man is totally different, poor man spends $20 a day while rich man spend $200 a day.

          Anyway, it still depends on how people think about money, just like you said “good earner with the mentality of saving”..

  9. Ms. Freeman says:

    I don’t even pay that much for a good bottle of wine. Yup, definitely check the proces in WholePayCheck. LOL πŸ™‚

  10. Wess Stewart says:

    Sounds nice, but I’ll just go to the local convenience store and buy a whole gallon of Red Diamond sweet tea for less than $3.

    1. That’s where the difference of rich people and average people lies.

    2. I think you can get a bottle Mad Dog for about $4 still can’t you? And they call that stuff wine, right.

  11. Crazy expensive tea but not bad compared to that MonaVie acai drink which is like $40!

    1. Yeah, but Mona Vie isn’t meant to be drank quickly. It’s actually a pretty good product, but not very affordable. My aunt is really into it. My wife and I also drink it (although lately we haven’t been).

      besides, $40/bottle is retail.. “buy it wholesale at $25/bottle” duh πŸ˜‰

  12. A lot of that price is surely marked up. But people who love tea and have the money will buy it. People like to buy expensive things, simply because, they are expensive. It makes people feel important and elite.

  13. I would think coming from you, you would check what you buy and the price. Wouldn’t you recommend us to do that? πŸ˜€


  14. Dave Doolin says:

    “Whole Paycheck.” I like it. Never shop there myself, usually go to 99 Ranch. Best selection and cheapest prices.

  15. What, I rarely pay $20 for a bottle of wine. There’s a killer Riesling I get at our local produce store that also sells specialty foods that’s $12, I can’t imagine spending $20 for a bottle of freaking TEA!

  16. Carter says:

    Whole Paycheck – great (and accurate) nickname. All the more reason to support your local health food store and farmer’s markets!
    At first it appears to be a strange colored wine in a bottle, but that bottlecap is a dead giveaway. And I can think of a ton of excellent wines that are less than 20 bucks a bottle!
    Seems like Golden Star is all about the bling-ka-ching.

  17. JoshuaElliot says:

    Ya, I would too, i think the most will be $5 in a restaurant for a bottle of tea.

  18. Surely. it is the most expensive tea in the world. πŸ˜€

    1. EarningStep says:

      probable no.. i seen tea with $ 120 label on it… call kwan im tea

  19. Money-Era says:

    I kind of laugh at all you guys who get so pissed off at someone buying $20 bottle of tea.
    Clearly you cannot afford it.
    Then just pass. The product is not right for you.
    Unfortunately, it is targeted at the different customers, who indeed can afford that and would not even notice the expense.
    This is the world we live in.
    What about Sudan?
    And people dying out of thirst? The supply of water for the whole day for one person costs there $0,25.
    These are the differences in todays economy.
    Stick to what you can afford. Do not get pissed off at $20 bottle of tea. Be glad you do not need to beg for $0,25 water.

  20. Sunny Rock says:

    All about marketing. Get some exposure from celebrities and people will buy this stuff even at $20.

  21. EarningStep says:

    nice tea.. i wonder how it taste .. good or just expensive on the bottle

    1. Yep I would love to know as well ….

      May be its have some herbal taste.

      1. Money-Era says:

        Read John’s post again.
        He has done a good job describing how the tea tastes.

  22. Benjamin Cip says:

    I first thought it was wine, but once I looked closer I noticed it was sparkling tea!! I’ve never drank sparkling tea untill now! I should give it a try!

    1. When you look at the colour of the Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea, you’ll see that it’s the same golden yellow that you’d expect from any sparkling wine, but when you taste it you are greeted with a beautiful sweet and floral bouquet of flavours.

  23. fas says:

    Thankfully I dont drink Tea, yet~

  24. Another post to show that John simply love food … you have got good taste John …

  25. Keldorn says:

    That is ridiculous, I wouldn’t pay it. But then again I’m a scrooge. πŸ™‚

    1. Sure this is free world and you can buy as per your will … and also you should not raise objection if someone is buying …

  26. shally says:

    It”s a tea and yet is expensive… I bet the test is good is it JC?

    1. I was taken from the very first sip and could not believe that someone actually thought of transforming jasmine tea in this way.

  27. The product has been a huge hit in the U.S. for a while now, but the product just made its entry into Canada.

  28. The concept is quite simple; jasmine green tea that’s been brewed and then mildly fermented in the same way you would a sparkling wine and the end result is a non-alcoholic beverage that will leave your taste buds surprised and wanting more.

  29. Bibokz says:

    Isn’t it expensive? Hehehe I loved to drink tea. Gonna get some bottle later.

  30. Susan says:

    Yum, this tea sounds really good – most of the other stuff on the market these days is total crap. I can’t stand those teabag things – Yuck!

    I think I’ll have to try this Golden Star tea soon – hopefully my local grocery store has it. I’m not too optimistic about that though as this is the first time I’ve even ever heard of this brand.

  31. Hey John,

    Those minimum four bottles are too much for me. So I will say no thanks.

    However the thing that I will compliment is that the bottle looks pretty wonderful. And that’s all about it.

    1. guess what, the $20 may be because the bottle. πŸ˜€

  32. $20 bottle of tea, with a million dollar view in those pictures!

    1. John Chow says:

      The picture was taken from my patio. I have a pretty good view of the city.

  33. It’s funny that you call Whole Foods Whole Paycheck. They tried buying a Wild Oats store in Melbourne FL that had been here for years. It was an EPIC FAIL and now were without a really nice organic market in this area.

  34. J. Money says:

    I once spent $40 on a bottle of water. On purpose! I wouldn’t dare to it now, but back then I didn’t care about my money. haha….Bling H20 it was/is called. If you like pretending you’re a celebrity, then this water is for you.

  35. Katana says:


    I would love to try that to drink that after one or two drinks, so I can keep drinking without the drunk or the hangover.


  36. Juan says:

    I think that is a wonderful product idea and brand.
    Very unique. Has anyone every heard of Prosperity Tea? its also Jasmine leaves from Fijian – China . 88 Checkotu my link πŸ˜‰

    1. Gerlaine says:

      smooth advertisement. πŸ˜‰ Checking the link.

  37. KN says:

    I used to shop at Whole Foods until my brother-in-law told me that their everything is very overpriced and that you could buy the same quality produce at Chinatown for a fraction of the cost. I’m not surprised at all that a bottle of sparkling tea costs $20 at Whole Foods. He was an accountant at Whole Foods. Note was and not is an accountant. He went on to work for a pharmaceutical company after being disenchanted by the company’s “organic” slogan. I now shop at Trader’s Joe.

  38. MM says:

    Your link to website to purchase online is not applicable for Canada…

    And if you order it, the per unit cost would be way more than 19.99 a bottle.

    — Add transport
    — Risk of breakage
    — Custom duty tax

    Good luck getting it for 12.95 US!!

    The Golden Star tea is a one of a kind product, Nothing like it in the Market. Its not mass produced High fructose corn syrup ” guk” pop…..

    The Silver needle is only harvested during a very short period of time, Organic ingredients, and the 730ml bottle has a fraction of the calories calories of a single serving regular pop. More importantly the carbohydrates is withing limits of anyone who may have issues with low sugar diets!!

    Itsd a one of a kind very unique product, you pay what you get for it, rich in anti oxidants coming from the White tea..

    Process same as wine making, stopping the fermentation early before higher alcohol content…

    makes great MARTINI’s.. ” Jasmine martini”s…

    It is now also Kosher certified…and if for religious reasons you cant drink alcohol or health reasons, or the whole family can enjoy,, DRINK RESPONSIBILY,

    Great with seafood…and on its own…

    DONT criticize the product without trying it, or knowing the background..

    You want your regular POP, HIGH fructose corn syrup, stick with all the mass produced prodcuts out there!!

    There are prodcuts for everyone, expecially those of us, who are willing to pay extra for Healthy living!!

    1. Gerlaine says:

      I don’t think John was criticizing, but just saying he didn’t know if it was worth it. And he didn’t. But you made a great case as to why it was worth it. Awesome and thanx!

  39. MM says:

    BEFORE everyone starts complaining, lets be realistic please, I just went through the process of attempting to order online 4 bottles direct at wholesale price of 12.95 US direct from producer of Golden Star tea:

    — 12.95 US ( about 14.00 cdn )
    — add GST, plus duty, cdn customs : GST, provincial sales tax and duty, total : say 10%, TOTAL 15.50 cdn

    WENT on FEDEX site, and also DHL, quote…San Francisco to Vancouver, 4 bottles , about 6kg, packed on minimum 10kg FEDEX rate…cost: 102.16 US dollars..

    Plus a 30 dollar fee to have custom clearance, by custom broker, as product has ” trace alcohol” 0.5%…

    total shipping 132.16 US: CDN:

    approx: 140 cdn..

    So cost per unit: 35 cdn dollars per bottle to ship + cost and all duty of 15.50 cdn..

    So buy direct online at total for 50.50 per bottle or buy at Wholefoods for 19.99 cdn ( By the way I baught it at 17.99 )….

    Goes to show , unless a product is made in your backyard there are all these hidden costs…

    And yes, there are all products to suit everyone…

    There are 10 dollar bottles of wine, and 50 dollar bottles of wine…etc…

    Definitly given there is no competition for Golden Star Sparkling tea, 17.99 or 19.99 is certainly reasonable for my tastes… ( love it with Grey Goose!!)…

    By the way, We all can buy Grey goose direct ( if allowed in Canada) for 11 dollars CDN, but time add shipping, Excise tax, Duty, customs clearance , we pay 50 dollars retail… ( but of course not allowed in Canada)

    There is Smirnoff for some people and regular occasions, and Grey Goose , Hangar One, and other Luxury vodkas for others and special occasions!!

    Cheers all!! and Enjoy!!

    1. Gerlaine says:

      So, I guess I should pick it up at whole foods. And pick up a bottle of grey goose on the way.

  40. Gerlaine says:

    I have never shopped at whole foods. There is not one close to where I live. But $20 is a bit high for some tea, even if its sparkling. I think that I will buy the 4 bottles at a time.

    Can I taste test first? Can they send me a small sample bottle?

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