GABA Kanayamidori Wakocha (ギャバかなやみどり和紅茶) is an organic GABA black tea from Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan. It undergoes a proprietary processing method to achieve a very high GABA content that is measured at 380mg/100g of dry leaf, currently the highest of all of our teas. This tea utilised the Kanayamidori cultivar that is usually used in green tea production. The GABA processing results in a complex tangy taste with fruity and savoury notes. We source this tea via a specialist refining factory in Shizuoka who work directly with the farmers. They provide end processing and refining at their small factory in Shizuoka but also support smaller farmers in distributing their teas, developing new tea types and improving their techniques. This tea is produced for them by one of the farmers they closely work with. This batch is the second flush harvest from June 2023.
While this tea is positioned as a ‘health tea’ in Japan due to the high GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) content, we also do find it to be delicious! While personal experiences vary, many tea drinkers experience a calming and relaxing effect on the body that is combined with clarity of mind from this type of tea. It’s a perfect choice when practicing meditation, yoga and Tai Chi.
As with all GABA teas, it undergoes a period of processing in an oxygen deprived environment. Typically this involves placing the tea leaves in a special vacuum tank that is then flushed with nitrogen. The leaves undergo a very slow oxidation that vastly increases the GABA content. For this particular tea, adjustments have been made to the processing to further increase the GABA content. Unfortunately we do not know how this is different to normal GABA tea production since it is an undisclosed production knowhow that the producer is hoping to be able to patent in future.
Even though the GABA tea processing was invented by Japanese scientists, it was Taiwanese tea growers who really popularised it. While GABA Oolong from Taiwan is the most popular and common type at the moment, some GABA Green tea is also produced in Taiwan. Japan is also producing GABA green tea, but the production is limited and most of this tea stays in Japan. While we have a heavily oxidised Red Jade GABA from Taiwan, this Japanese GABA black tea delivers quite a distinct character.
This GABA Kanayamidori Wakocha consists of mixed sized leaf, with some leaves being evidently less oxidised due to GABA processing. It delivers a dark coloured liquor with a fruity aroma. The dominant fruity flavours that are found in other such teas here are combined with more complex notes due to a higher degree of oxidation. The savoury taste is tangy and is more akin to a highly oxidised oolong. The complex notes are spicy, with notes of savoury plums, spicy tomatoes and roasted peppers. The aftertaste is a little drying with a sweeter malty, yet tangy finish. This GABA Wakocha is similar to darker Taiwanese GABA Oolong teas, yet it delivers a very distinct Japanese Wakocha character!
It is best brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed 3+ times depending on your taste preferences.