New tea wins fans by counteracting caffeine effects

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 2018-05-30

Taiwan has long been known for its quality tea. The country continues to produce up to

Taiwanese researchers have created an oolong tea that helps with relaxation and does not keep tea lovers up all night. (Photo by CNA)

NT$7.6 billion (US$253 million) worth of tea leaves each year. Now, a variety of tea recently developed by local researchers is winning fans abroad.

Taiwan’s GABA oolong tea has a secret weapon that has become a major selling point. GABA is short for gamma-Aminobutyric acid. It helps relaxation, and when consumed in large enough volumes can counteract the effects of caffeine. With GABA tea, tea lovers worried about getting to sleep at night can drink tea as a sleep aid instead.

GABA oolong tea is the product of years of research and experiments at the government’s Tea Research and Extension Station. GABA occurs naturally in tea leaves, but the station’s work has created leaves with a GABA content that’s two times or more above natural levels. Since the caffeine in these tea leaves will not have any effect, there is no need to decaffeinate them.

Two local farmers were given the production techniques last year. Despite being more than three times more expensive than regular oolong tea, orders for the new tea have kept coming in. The tea is in particular demand among western gourmands. The tea thus gives farmers a greater earning power and tea lovers a good night’s sleep.

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