This is the first GABA tea I am writing about. I heard of GABA oolongs, and I am sure they will feature as part of this challenge at some stage, but this one is a black tea oxidised with nitrogen instead of oxygen.
GABA (or Gabaron) tea has been invented by Japanese scientists (Tsushida et al.) in 1987. GABA tea is named after the high content of γ-aminobutyric acid (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid). Since the invention, different processes were developed to increase the GABA content in tea, and their health benefits have been researched widely.
According to this book (Tea and Tea Products, Chemistry and Health-Promoting Properties), several studies reported that GABA improves hypertension, depression, sleeplessness, alcoholism, release of growth hormones, diabetes, and nervous regression. GABA is also known for its health benefits related to antioxidation, anticancer, and blood lipid-lowering effects. It sounds quite like a miracle tea. I recommended the book mentioned above if you would like to find out more about its benefits.
This tea was made from Hong Yu (No.18) cultivar. Hong Yu means Ruby or Red Jade. I have reviewed another ruby black tea from Taiwan before, and it was a competition-grade from Yuchi. As for comparing this one with the Yuchi ruby, I have to say I could not get the richness I expected. Some sweetness and minerality and that were about it. I wonder if it is due to the GABA method whereby the oxygen is removed from the oxidation tanks and replaced by nitrogen. As a result of this, oxidation takes place very slowly and causes the sweet flavours to linger in the mouth. However, I could not get that with this GABA. I’d still drink it as it is good enough not to mention its multiple health benefits. Such a gem!
Origin: Nantou, Yuchi, Taiwan
Harvest time: 2020
Leave colour: Classic rolled oolong shape with shades of brown and green
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea aroma: Floral
Tea taste: Floral and mineral
Steeping/brewing: Steep around 5 gr of leaves in a gaiwan or tea pot up to 20 sec. in gongfu style or 1 min in Western style respectively. To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 3 years (or perhaps more)