Good morning, my dear tea friends. It’s been awhile since we’ve shared a cup of tea together. I have been helping a cherished friend make his last journey out of this world. It has been a very hard time. This past week the sky has been weeping cleansing rain from gray clouds with peeks of blue here and there. I have found that grief can be very much like that – torrential rain one minute and then peeks of blue sky the next. I am hopeful that the combination of cleansing raindrops and peeks of sun can bring a rainbow for healing. It takes time though. Tea has been such a solace and comfort. My morning cup today is called GABA Oolong.
GABA, or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, is a compound that naturally occurs in the human body. It is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter and prevents over-excitement in our nervous system. Neurotransmitters are what neurons send to each other to either excite of inhibit a signal. You must be thinking – what does this have to do with tea? Well, in the 1980s, Japanese scientists were experimenting with different ways to preserve food and discovered that when tea leaves were exposed to nitrogen, it increased the levels of GABA in the tea. GABA tea then became a staple in many Japanese diets because they believe it has a wide range of health benefit because of its calming properties.
To create the tea, tea plants are shaded for about 10 days prior to harvest, which increases the levels of glutamic acid, a precursor to GABA, in the leaf. After harvest, the tea leaves are placed in stainless steel drums and the oxygen is then replaced with nitrogen for about 8 hours. What does GABA do exactly? I have read that it increases the alpha brain waves, which can improve mental focus and promote a greater sense of well being. That said, my question then is how does the GABA get past the blood brain barrier? A good question for the scientists out there.
I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in 180 degree (F) water. The gentle aroma is quite sweet with fruity nuances.
The light golden tea liquor is also quite sweet and buttery smooth with notes of cantaloupe and tropical fruit. This lovely fruity tea would make an excellent iced tea!
Thanks for understanding about my long absence and I’ll see you in two weeks when I’ll be reviewing a new Pre-Chingming tea. Until then, dear tea friends, enjoy your tea!