Imagine seeing a guy in a panda suit promoting a new line of tea grown using the feces of the animal. Weird, right? Now imagine him charging $200 for every cup you drink.

No, you’re not hallucinating. An Yanshi, an entrepreneur in southwest China, uses the excrement from panda bears at nearby breeding centers to fertilize his crops of “fragrant and smooth” tea leaves. And at a price of $3,500 for 50 grams of the harvest, that breaks down to about $200 per cup — making it the most expensive tea in the world.

“I just want to convey to the people of the world the message of turning waste into something useful, and the culture of recycling and using organic fertilizers,” the 41-year-old former teacher said, adding that profits from the initial batches will go into an environmental fund, but later crops will be less expensive.

So why panda dung? An, dressed up like one of the familiar black and white animals, said since they only eat wild bamboo and absorb just a bit of the nutrients in their food, their excrement is a “health boon.”

He’s not the first to use animal feces in a pricey beverage. Kopi luwak coffee, made from the beans of coffee berries eaten by the weasel-like palm civet and then passed through its digestive tract, can fetch as much as $600 a pound and is considered the world’s most expensive java.

[Reuters]