Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea


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  • Flavor: Aromatic notes of berries and papaya. Blackberry and palm sugar flavor notes. Tangy/sweet lingering dry finish.

    Garden: The producers of this tea are the most progressive and sustainable tea farmers we've met. This husband and wife team employ completely natural farming methods. They are also conducting ongoing experimentation in their processing methods to maximize the quality and value of their produce.

    Harvest: Machine trimmed, small batch. Fall 2024.

    Elevation: 400m

  • It has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish.

    Through hands-on experimentation, our friend Mr. Xie has learned to make the best quality GABA tea we've tasted. The methods he uses are based on a recipe that was developed by Taiwanese Oolong Tea artisans who succeeded in making a specialty tea out of a product that was initially a health supplement made from tea leaves.

    GABA is the abbreviated name of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is a primary neurotransmitter in our central nervous system. It was discovered in Japan in the 1980's that by oxidizing tea leaves in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) atmosphere, this naturally occurring compound is greatly increased. GABA is now a popular health food supplement around the world that is claimed to reduce anxiety, decrease blood pressure, and have other beneficial effects.

    GABA Tea is similar to Black Tea in that it is fully oxidized. But it is essentially made by using modified Oolong Tea processing methods. This is where it gets its complexity of character from. We encourage you to explore your own preferred brewing style, but start out light on the leaves, and increase from there, if you're inclined. If brewed too strongly, the richness and complexity are lost.

  • Mr. Xie is hands-down the most progressive organic tea farmer we know. We've met a handful of boutique tea growers whose radically exclusive ideologies and farming methods set them apart to a degree that they are not really industry players — due to their minimal yields, non-standard produce, and exorbitant prices. Mr. Xie keeps it real. His farming methods are radical, yet practical — and he doesn't flaunt his approach. He simply does what makes sense to him, with deeply rooted convictions about natural farming. He's been at it for over 20 years, and it has been a very hard trail to blaze. He started out surrounded by conventional famers who laughed and scoffed at his approach. Now he has a small crowd of younger farmers following his model.

    In brief, his farming approach includes no use of fertilizers or irrigation, and he also does not cut or pull the weeds that grow in his plots of tea. Rather, he lets them grow to a certain height, and then pushes them over with a hand truck. With these methods, he is slowly transitioning plot after plot of tea in a low elevation region and consequently increasing the quality and value of the tea produced. This is what we find most inspiring in terms of having a sustainable impact on the local industry! In addition to this, he has experimented and developed innovative processing methods — one of which is GABA Tea.

    While GABA tea was invented in Japan, it wasn't until Taiwanese tea makers applied their expertise in Oolong Tea processing methods that it became known for its unique qualities of flavor along with its health benefits. Japanese production of GABA tea is focused on its value as a health food supplement, similar to green tea powder. The tea industry here in Taiwan relies on its differentiating value of quality produce to compensate for its relatively low volume, compared to other tea-producing countries. So when the demand for GABA tea increased, Taiwanese tea makers used their skillful resources and developed a specialty tea with specific healthy attributes.

    Mr. Xie told us that GABA tea takes 3 days to make, following the harvest. It is basically an extensive Oolong Tea making process that involves longer solar withering following the harvest, then 8-10 hour sessions of oxidation in vacuum-sealed (nitrogen atmosphere) steel cylinders, with alternating 2-3 hours of slowly tumbling the leaves in large bamboo basket cylinders. Three cycles of alternate oxidation and tumbling (about 36 hours total), followed by tumble heating (kill green), primary rolling and drying, and then a full day of rolling and drying to complete the process.

    It has been cited that the GABA tea-making process also raises levels of gallate esters in the composition of the leaf. Esters are compounds that provide aromatic qualities in plants, including herbs and spices. This apparently has a lot to do with what has given Taiwanese GABA Tea its renown. It's notably fruity, like dried papaya, banana, and apricots. It has a concentrated quality to it that seems to be in accord with its extensive processing methods.

  • Mug: 8g tea in 350ml 95°C water. Steep for 3 minutes. Drink and add hot water as desired. Adjust to taste.

    Cold Brew: Use 7g of tea per liter of water. Brew tea at room temperature for 2-3 hours, and enjoy. Or you can put your cold brew bottle in the fridge to brew overnight and be ready to drink the next day.

    Gongfu Brew: Use 11g for a 175 ml pot. Use boiling temperature water and brew for about 50 seconds. Increase brewing time with each successive brew. The leaves can be brewed 6-7 times.

Customer Reviews

Based on 24 reviews
NPS score:
0 (Not at all likely)
10 (Extremely likely)
Likes: Fast delivery
Improvements: Nothing!
Easy to drink

Certain notes reminds me of black tea. Overall it is a very smooth tea which makes it easy to drink.

Cheng Ting
NPS score:
0 (Not at all likely)
10 (Extremely likely)
Likes: great quality product.
Improvements: nothing. keep making this product available!
can't live without it.

My wife is addicted to this tea and it's part of her afternoon routine. She claims this tea provides mental clarity that is unrivaled. It’s the only tea she drinks.

NPS score:
0 (Not at all likely)
10 (Extremely likely)
Likes: Great flavor, big leaves
Improvements: N/A
Delicious; tingly

I got a sample of this because I had never tried GABA oolong before. If I had been given some of this without a label, I would've assumed it was a bug-bitten tea. It both smells and tastes very similar to bug-bitten teas I've tried, but it's half the price.

I tested this out grandpa style. The aroma reminds me of a light, sweet bread and the flavor is a shock of sweetness on the tip of the tongue followed by a light black tea taste.

Most unusually/notably, it leaves an aftertaste and mouth/throat feel similar to peppercorns. This is apparently a reaction to GABA that some people have and not a typical characteristic of the tea.

Nathan BONIN
Rich tea

Very good tea

My favorite Gaba in spite of...

A wonderful tea, great taste reminds of dark fruits.
Pleasant and calming.
It's my absolute favorite Gaba Oolong and that's why I'm especially upset about the machine trimming.

It's a shame how much loose branches I have to find between the roled up leaves.
I definitely would pay more for a Gaba produced without the involvement of machines.

The best batch so far was the first I bought summer 2020.
Since than the situation with the quality only got worse.

I'm really thankful for the great tea Eco-Cha is distributing to us and I wish you all the best.