This is the first post about the three teas that made up my late September order at House of Tea.
When I first read the description of this tea it ticked so many boxes that a purchase was a no-brainer. A Taiwanese non-Oolong GABA tea? Tickety check-a-check tick. Here, have some money…
House of Tea’s notes tell us that the raw material hails from Ming Jian township, Nantou County, Taiwan, is of the Jin Xuan cultivar, and was grown without the use of pesticides. The leaves were hand picked in March 2020.
After harvesting the leaves underwent some kind of processing about which I admittedly know very little, that produced a tea that is both, well, green and, errrm, GABA. It would be very interesting to learn more about the processing – is it a fairly standard green tea process with the GABA treatment coming afterwards, or some kind of hybrid job?
The dry leaf had a mild aroma, one reminiscent of sweet peas and Finger Nice biscuits, with that mysterious, hard to pin down GABA thing hovering in the background.
After a wee while in the warmed up pot baked goods and dry roasted nuts were added to the mix.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||200 ml glass teapot|
|No. & duration:||10 infusions of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 180 seconds duration|
This was an exceptionally clean tea, it has to be said. This was one of those rare sessions where it would have been possible to have done away with my tea strainer altogether.
I’d been quite tired before the session started – I’d had a poor night’s kip thanks to my furry Burmese overlord’s shenanigans during the wee small hours – but by the time the third steeping rolled around I was hopping about like a well known battery powered mechanical rabbit imitating champagne corks.
The intensity of flavour in my cup reached a crescendo at the session’s halfway point, and then gradually faded out until it became apparent that the leaves had given all they had to offer. Taste wise nothing new entered the fray, and none of the original notes left the party at any point during the session, but I was OK with that. There was so much going on in the liquor as it was that you really didn’t need the added distraction of a “comings and goings” sub-plot.
I’m still no nearer to being able to fully grok the whole GABA thing. A while ago when I had a GABA Oolong the nearest I could come to it was “vodka and toothpaste“. To borrow a line from Frank Herbert GABA-ing a tea really does seem to put a “stamp of strangeness” on it.
There are, I think, nods to the “Blind Men And An Elephant” parable with this tea, too. One sip has you saying “Oolong“, but the next has you performing a high speed handbrake turn and declaring that no, it really is the green tea like characteristics that are dominant.
In conclusion, then – this is a fascinating, odd, complex, weirdly enjoyable tea, and one well worth a closer look.