A Tea to Make the Pandas Drool: Bamboo Pu-erh

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by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)

Little Yellow Teapot back with another delightful tea! It’s Bamboo Pu-erh, and if you want my personal (and not at all humble) opinion, I’d rather steep tea aged in bamboo than in some old smelly rotten orange peel any day. (Yet there are humans who put my cousin teapots and gaiwans through that ordeal almost daily – sighTOOOT!) The full name of the tea is Bamboo Old Tree Raw Pu-erh 2011 Spring Imperial Grade. Anyway, on to see what this fine tea is all about.

JAS_BambooPuerhE1

Water temp: 175°F; Infusing time: 1-2 mins.

Our sample was clearly a slice of the round shape for the tea out of the bamboo stalk and had a sweet aroma. We used about half of it for this steeping. The liquid, as you can see above, is a pale yellow-green. The aroma had a sweet quality to the flavor but also a typical pu-erh quality, a bit earthy. The flavor was smooth, sweet, and a bit earthy. Frankly, this is a tea that you humans interesting in trying pu-erh would find interesting.

The panda connection:

Pandas eat bamboo – leaves and stalk. Lots of it. Thank goodness it’s a fast growing plant species. In fact, it tends to be rather invasive, so much so that if you’re thinking of planting some in your yard, be sure to put a deep barrier (preferably metal or thick concrete) into the ground around the area where you want the bamboo to be to keep it out of the area where you want the bamboo not to be. The stalks you see above ground are attached to a rhizome (underground stem) similar to Aspen groves. They grow so densely that other plants are shut out of the area, and they can range from only 4-6 inches tall to around 130 feet.

LYT_bamboo

The tea connection:

The stalk is useful for a wide variety of applications, including flooring, furniture, fences, and yes, tea aging. The stalks are basically hollow inside, but at each of those “bumps” along there, they are solid inside. Each stalk is cut so that the solid part forms the “bottom,” processed tea leaves are stuffed inside and a cover put on the open end. They are dried over open fires, at some point the bamboo is stripped away, and the pressed tea leaves are sent to market. Sounds better than rotten orange peel any day…TOOOOT!

One final note: the little red cardinal birdies aren’t real but are included to pay homage to a friend on Twitter/Facebook who is a big birdie fan, especially cardinals.

Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.

© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text

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