Agartala: Taking a cue from China and Japan, a tribal entrepreneur in Tripura has prepared a refreshing beverage from bamboo leaves — what he has named as ‘Bamboo leaf tea’ — drawing traders from other states, who are willing to market the product not just within the country but also abroad.
Samir Jamatia, a 36-year-old bamboo technologist from remote Garji village in Gomati district, had lived in China for many years, while also extensively touring Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, as part of his job, and during the course of his stay, he carefully studied the process that goes into making of the brew.
The beverage, “rich in anti-oxidants and antibiotic properties”, has gained the attention of tea connoisseurs and traders, with exporters from as far as Tamil Nadu evincing interest in the product, he said.
Jamatia, a member of Bamboo Society of India, had earlier, too, made valuable contributions for the production of rice from the grass — grown in abundance in Tripura.
Samples of the bamboo leaf tea have been purchased by traders from Delhi and Madurai, he said. “A consignment of 500 kg tea has been supplied to an exporter from Delhi, who is marketing the product abroad.
Another trader from Madurai came down to Tripura and lived here for three days to learn the production process. He, too, plans to export the tea to the UK and Germany,” the entrepreneur noted.
Currently, one kilogramme of ‘bamboo leaf tea’ is being sold for Rs 120, he said.
Explaining the procedure for collection and production of the beverage, Jamatia said the planters have to be very careful while picking the leaves, as only the “young and tender ones” are used to make the tea.
The brew can be made from 30 varieties of bamboo, but ‘kanak kaich’ is best suited for the purpose, he pointed out.
“The leaves are dried in the sun for at least seven days in a greenhouse and then hand-rolled to break them into pieces or are ground to dust,” Jamatia explained, further adding that the tea tastes best with a hint of lemon and a spoonful of sugar.