The Handbook
The Handbook

‘Tea for two, and two for tea, just me for you and’ – HOW MUCH? ‘Tap water for two, and two for tap water…’ as the song didn’t quite go.

As a nation we’re obsessed with tea, we consume it by the gallon, we even built an entire empire on it (well, that and subjugation of native peoples, exploitation of natural resources, overcoming malaria with gins and tonic and playing too much cricket – so all the good stuff). But how far would you go for the perfect cuppa? And do you have £500 spare?

If so then order an Uber, hail a bus, jump on a pogo stick and make your way directly to The Rubens at The Palace where they’ve got the poshest tea in the world, and it sounds as amazing as a £500 tea had better well sound.

The hotel, which is right opposite Buckingham Palace, has collaborated with specialist tea merchants PMD Tea to offer guests pots of fine Ceylon Golden Tips. This is a Sri Lankan highland tea blend that’s so rare it costs £500 for a pot serving just three cups. In 1891 a pound of the stuff (enough to make 75 pots of tea) would have set you back the modern-day equivalent of just £1,260, but over a hundred years later the special hand-picked blend is back in fashion, and a whole lot more expensive. And so it should be, today expert tea pluckers skilfully hand pick the tips of the small, succulent shoots of a special tea plant at sunrise. The buds are then sun-dried on a velvet cloth with the upmost care, turning the buds from silver to gold. Almost literally.

The Ruben’s afternoon tea team will ensure you get all the theatre that a £500 brew-up deserves, with white-gloved flunkeys using gold tweezers used to pick the leaves and precisely weigh them before your eyes, before infusing it with still natural mineral water and pouring from a special silver tea set.

And should you fancy some tea with your tea, for just £45 you can add The Ruben’s famous afternoon tea, with the requisite sandwiches and scones making the perfect accompaniment to the spenny drink.

This tea is so posh that the queen herself is probably peering through the railings of Buck House, out at The Rubens At The Palace, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Ceylon Golden Tips.