GABA stands for Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid, an amino acid that is one of the main neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Neurotransmitters help nerve signals travel between cells (neurons). The GABA chemical serves to prevent over-excitement of the nervous system by controlling the movement of signals between neurons.
Teas labelled as GABA tea must contain at least 150 mg of GABA per 100g (other oolong teas have about 6 – 10 mg per 100g).
Gaba Oolong is produced differently to other oolongs. First of all, the tea bushes are shaded for two weeks before the harvest. Then, instead of the usual production stages of withering followed by oxidisation, the freshly picked tea leaves are put into stainless steel vacuum drums. There, the oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen. The leaves remain in this oxygen free environment for 8 – 10 hours, resulting in a high concentration of Gamma-Amino Butyric acid within the tea.
As well as calming the central nervous system it is said that GABA tea has a long list of health benefits. However, as we are not medical professionals we are not going to investigate those. Instead, as always, we will concentrate on the taste and why we like this particular GABA oolong tea.
Grown on Mount Ali Shan at 1600 meters above sea level, this tea was made from the cultivar Qing Xin. The dry leaves vary in colour from medium to dark brown. It has a GABA content of 300 mg per 100g and has been roasted just enough to give it a nice dark, caramel honey flavour, slightly reminiscent of the Concubine Oolong. We like this tea a lot, not just because of the taste but because of the way we feel after drinking it: happy, healthy and grateful to have such wonderful tea!