This is another gift from Jillian that came with my christmas card. At least I’m pretty sure it was. I think I need to invent some sort of filing system in the Bits’n’Bobs Basket or something to help me keep track of these things.
I’ve never heard of this before. I would never even for a moment have imagined that such a thing existed, or even that anybody out there would ever think of it.
The leaves appear to be pretty much just small dried bamboo leaves and indeed they aren’t fermented at all. Merely withered. You can forget about teaspoons and scoops and whatnot when measuring out an amount. In fact I ignored the concept of measuring entirely and just moved a small handful to the pot. It seemed easier.
They have an interesting aroma when dry. It’s not overwhelmingly strong, but it’s quite grassy and surprisingly sweet. I have never really made it a habit to go around sniffing at bamboo, but I hadn’t expected it to smell like this. I didn’t really have any expectations of the aroma, but this still struck me as unexpected.
After steeping it had a very pale colour with some of that radioactive glow-in-the-dark colour that you can also find in a good sencha. I didn’t get to get a good look at that though. As it turns out when I removed the strainer, my strainer is in need of some maintenance and so there’s a bit of contamination here. (This is a phenomenon (do-doo-dodoodo!) that I’ve seen before with greens, but have never actually had any effects on flavour that I could tell at all. So nothing serious, other than a few points off in presentation)
The aroma after steeping rather reminds me of that sticky rice pu-erh that Auggy shared with me. It’s got an uncanny note of rice to it. Rice and newly mowed lawn. The latter isn’t really all that strange, is it, considering bamboo is a species of grass.
It tastes rather like the rice pu-erh as well. It’s got a rice note and that sweetness from the dry leaves as well. I can only compare it to rice pu-erh weakly brewed and with too much sugar in it. I’m not getting any particular grassy notes out of it in the flavour, though. The flavour is very smooth and there is no hints of anything that might turn into bitterness.
I’m surprising myself by rather liking it. To drink it feels very like your average middle-of-the-road sencha. A bit weaker, perhaps, but very similar. I would prefer a real sencha, but this will do as well.