A very special tea indeed. Invented in the 1980s in Japan, the technology has since been perfected in Taiwan, which is now also the main manufacturer globally with production predominantly in the ball-rolled oolong style. Any tea can be made into a GABA tea and for ours we use a classic high-mountain oolong from the Alishan mountains as the base. The process for then converting it into a GABA tea has two crucial steps which are responsible for elevating the levels of this compound. First, prior to harvest, tea bushes will often be shade-covered for a period of 10-14 days. This helps increase the amount of glutamic acid in the tea leaves. Second, following the withering stage, the tea leaves are loaded into steel tanks, oxygen vacuumed out and nitrogen flushed in, and then kept at a temperature of over 40°C for 8-10 hours. For our tea, this step is repeated three times and it is during this process that the glutamic acid is converted into GABA. In between the steel tank phases, the tea leaves are transferred into cylindrical bamboo tumblers for 3-4 hours. This alternating between anaerobic and aerobic conditions is said to boost the amount of catechins known as gallate esters and thereby enhance the aromatic qualities of the finished product. Lastly, our tea is given a single 10-hour roast and left to settle for 2 weeks. A laborious tea to produce, the end result is an oolong with a flavour profile similar to that of a black tea full of spice notes, whilst also developing a slightly acidic fruity note that is characteristic of all GABA teas. Also known as Gabaron.