Our Mi Xian Honey GABA Oolong (蜜香佳葉烏龍茶) is a fully organic tea grown in Nantou County of Taiwan that has quite a unique flavour. This flavour is known as ‘Mi Xian’ and is most similar to the taste of wild mountain honey with lovely sweet floral notes. The flavour occurred in this tea due to highly unusual weather patterns of spring 2017. As such this tea is a complete one-off, think of it as a particularly good vintage of fine wine. It is a unique experience and the taste is somewhere between our GABA Oolong and our Gui Fei Oolong. It was picked in spring 2017 from trees of a Jin Xuan (TRES #12) cultivar and processed in the style of a GABA Oolong in an oxygen deprived environment.
To demystify the acronym in the name, GABA stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. This molecule, which in mammals is mostly found in the nervous system, purportedly can reduce stress and anxiety. This Honey GABA Oolong undergoes a complicated manufacturing process, which involves vacuum tanks and oxidation by way of exposure to nitrogen rather than oxygen. The very high GABA content is the direct result of this processing, which was developed by Japanese scientists over 20 years ago.
There are differing opinions on how well our bodies can actually absorb GABA from our food and drink and while some people report feeling particularly relaxed and calm after drinking GABA tea, others do not see any significant difference. So while the effects of this tea are a very personal experience, most will appreciate this tea for the unusual and distinctive taste.
The ‘Mi Xian’ or ‘Honey’ flavour of this oolong is normally attributed to ‘beauty teas‘ that have a unique growing story. Beauty teas are unique for their honey-like flavour that occurs due to presence of little green leaf hoppers that nibble the tea leaves during growth. The tea plants react to this attack by producing more polyphenols, which during processing give the unique ‘beauty tea’ flavour. This type of flavour can be referred to as ‘honey’, ‘Mi Xian’ or ‘bug bitten’ flavour. Once you’ve tried a good tea that has a prominent ‘Mi Xian’ flavour, you will be able to easily spot other teas with similar flavours as it is rather distinctive and highly addictive!
This Honey GABA Oolong has very tightly rolled dark leaves that are typical of oolong teas of this type. When brewed it produces a bronze coloured liquor with a very complex taste. Flavour wise, you can see similarities to both our standard GABA Oolong and our Gui Fei Oolong. There is fruitiness and tartness that is normally associated with GABA Oolong teas. However there is also a distinct ‘bug bitten’ honey flavour that resulted from the unusual weather patterns of this spring. Normally ‘bug bitten’ teas are at their best during the summer months, so it is extremely unusual to come across such flavours in a spring crop. The fruity and wild honey flavours dominate the taste of this tea but there are also unusual notes of eucalyptus, citrus fruit and cinnamon present that make it a pleasantly complex experience!
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 4-5 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed more than 3 times depending on your preference.