We spend a lot of time extolling the numerous benefits of bamboo – both as a product and an edible food source. Even with this positive attitude, it comes as quite a shock to find some ways entrepreneurs are using this amazing material. In China, a university lecturer at Sichuan University, Mr. An Yanshi, 41, is using the nutrients of bamboo to grow the most expensive tea in the world. But wait, there’s a twist – he’s getting those nutrients from the 5 tons of panda poo he’s collected.
Despite centuries of evolution, pandas continue to have a very poor digestive system. In fact, young pandas are known to eat the feces of their mother in order to obtain essential nutrients they are unable to absorb from many plants. Since pandas are only able to absorb about 30% of what they eat, their excrement is incredibly rich in fibers and nutrients. Since the majority of their diet consists of bamboo, they’ve got some pretty excellent bamboo nutrition in their poo!
According to Yashi, these nutrients are immensely powerful. In fact, bamboo contains an element with cancer-preventing qualities, much like green tea. If bamboo product is used as fertilizer for green tea, it apparently has the ability to enhance green tea’s anti-cancer effects. In addition, bamboo is known to be a low-calorie and low-sodium source of potassium and dietary fiber, and contains zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and protein.
Mr. Yashi may not be the only one believing in the power and nutrition packed into this tea. Though he won’t reveal details of his methods, he is concocting a green tea blend to be sold for up to $36,000 per pound. He claims consumers can expect a high-quality, nutritious green tea with a “mature, nutty taste.”
An Yashi collects the panda dung from a breeding facility in Southern China, and has a pile of 5 tons of panda dung fertilizer. The first batch of tea is scheduled for harvesting and sales in the spring of 2012, and will be targeted at nature lovers and wealthy foodies. I’m not sure that Whole Foods qualifies, so you’ll probably have to look for this stuff online. As if the use of the excrement from an endangered animal to make tea wasn’t enough of a claim to fame, Yashi is also hoping to get the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records. Though subsequent batches are expected to go for less than the original price, Yashi hopes to make it into the book for developing the most expensive tea in the world.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?
There are stories about monkey-picked tea, and passing coffee berries through a pig’s digestive tract before making coffee, and other unique ways of adding fame and flavor to morning beverages. Perhaps coffee and tea entrepreneurs are really all just fighting corporate moguls like Starbucks by trying to keep the industry, ahem, fresh.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2011/11/the-worlds-most-expensive-tea-made-from-panda-poo/ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2063292/Most-expensive-tea-grown-PANDA-POO.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8896096/Chinese-entrepreneur-uses-panda-poo-to-fertilise-tea.html http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2321/2 http://kuwaitiful.com/news-2/worlds-most-expensive-tea-comes-from-panda-faeces/ http://digitaljournal.com/article/314759