August 3, 2018

Calming the storm in a teacup

A gift of the GABA

GABA tea has been around since the 1980s but is only just starting to gain more traction with western tea drinkers for its health properties. Here’s an overview of what it is, by Adeline Teoh.

Tea and fermentation are tricky things. Often confused with oxidation* (an enzyme-based chemical reaction involving oxygen), fermentation is a microbial process where sugars are turned into desired byproducts, for example alcohol in the case of wine, or yoghurt in the case of milk.

You may already drink fermented tea. Dark teas like pu’er, liu bao and goishicha undergo a fermentation process, as does kombucha, which has made big moves in the Australian ready-to-drink market over the last few years.

GABA tea, also known as gabaron or jiaye longcha (佳叶龙茶), involves a newer form of fermentation. The glutamic acid in tea leaves are converted into GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid, using a nitrogen-rich anaerobic (oxygen-less) process. This technique was developed in 1984 by Japanese researchers at the NARO Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science as a way to enhance the health properties of tea without changing the content of catechin or caffeine.

But what does all this GABA do, exactly? GABA is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in your body that regulates chemical signals between your brain and your nervous system. Food and beverages high in GABA have been used to treat** everything from high blood pressure to anxiety and sleep disorders.

The Japanese market has many GABA-enhanced products for consumption; the Taiwanese were the first outside Japan to seize this method to augment tea.

Thanks to a gift from Mr Hsu Chien-Chen of May Zest Tea Co, AUSTCS delegates will be able to sample a range of GABA products, including green, oolong, black (red) and charcoal-roasted Taiwanese teas.

Want to sample some GABA tea at AUSTCS 2018? Tickets now available.

Talking tea at the Sydney Tea Festival

The Sydney Tea Festival returns for its fifth year on Sunday 19 August. Come say ‘hello’ to the AUSTCS crew.

AUSTCS once again has a Carriageworks corner to call home at the Sydney Tea Festival, so if you’re coming, do take a moment to stop by and say ‘hello’ to co-directors David Lyons, James Lyons and Adeline Teoh, who’ll all be there in some capacity throughout the day.

Sydney Tea Festival


19 August 2018

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