The LA Times ran a little story the other day (also picked up at the Monterey Herald) about the tea group that meets in Los Angeles, back when I was still living there. It's a good article, and I give my thanks to Rosanna Xia for doing her best to be true to our experiences drinking tea.
The one thing the article plays up with exaggeration is the cost of fine teas. The best of the best, as with any epicurean pursuit, is very, very expensive.
But the majority of the tea we drank at LA Tea Affair was not nearly so high-end. Higher-end than your average loose leaf, but certainly not commonly in the $1500/lb range. When I've had the pleasure to sample such expensive teas, the person or tea shop sharing was munificent in their not charging me a thing. And that generosity amongst tea drinkers makes our hobby so great.
Likewise, sharing has been central to the success of the LA tea group. Tea is best shared with others, and that sharing rarely comes with a cost or debt of reciprocity.