Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Fong Mong Tea
GABA tea is an all-natural source of GABA. It was discovered more than 20 years ago by Japanese researchers looking for a natural method to preserve food. They discovered that tea which is oxidized in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere has a higher concentration of GABA elements than any other types of tea.
GABA tea production involves exposing fresh tea leaves to nitrogen instead of oxygen. The fresh tea is placed in stainless steel vacuum drums and the oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen. The tea leaves are exposed to this nitrogen-rich atmosphere for about 8 hours. The temperature must be kept above 40 degrees Celsius for the duration of the processing. This procedure produces the highest concentrations of natural GABA.
Learn more about this tea here.
Of the different Oolong types that are out there, I think that the one I’ve had the least amount of experience with are GABA Oolong teas. To my recollection, I’ve had fewer than a handful of GABA teas.
But since it is an Oolong and not a “flavored” one, I’m going to brew it the same way I’d brew other Oolong teas: in my gaiwan! I “eyeballed” an amount of tea leaf that looked to be about a bamboo scoop. I didn’t use the bamboo scoop because this leaf is so large and bulky and stemmy that it wouldn’t measure properly anyway. So, I just eyeballed it.
The reason this tea is kind of “stemmy,” according to Fong Mong Tea:
The twigs contain the most enzyme. For the healthy purpose, we kept the most twigs for our tea consumers.
I heated the water to 180°F. I did a preliminary rinse of the leaves (15 second steep, then I strained the liquid and discarded it) and then I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion. My first cup is comprised of the combination of infusions 1 and 2, the second cup is infusions 3 and 4, and … you get the drift.
This does taste different from the Oolong teas I’m typically drinking, but there are some familiar flavors here too. It is sweet and nutty with delicate notes of spice. It has a lighter flavor than a lot of Oolong teas – this doesn’t have that heavy “creamy” taste and texture that so many Oolong teas have. There is some creaminess to this, but it’s much lighter. I like the texture – it’s refreshing.
So it started me wondering, what is GABA Oolong, anyway? I found this information on the listing for this tea in Fong Mong Tea’s ebay store:
GABA is an amino acid that is produced by the human body. GABA stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid. Its main function is to inhibit the firing of neurons in the brain. Because of this inhibitory function, GABA sends messages to the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, and kidneys to slow down.
The second cup was a bit darker in color than the first and the flavor was also stronger. It has a strong nutty flavor to it, and a roasty-toasty quality. I’m picking up on subtle peach notes now. The spice notes are more pronounced in this cup, I can taste mild notes of cinnamon and it’s quite nice! Very autumnal tasting, this tea.
My third (and final) cup had a smoother taste, where the flavors – nutty, toasty, peach and spice – seemed to come together in a seamless flavor. It’s quite pleasant and relaxing to sip.
A really lovely cup of Oolong. Different, yes. But different can be good and it is definitely good in the case of this GABA Oolong from Fong Mong Tea.