Theanine is part of the amino acids family, part of the initial chain of large proteins. This amino acid is unique to tea. It is found in only one other plant, the fungus bay bolete.
Theanine represents between 1 and 2% of the dry weight of tea leaf. It is more concentrated in the young shoots and buds as it contributes to the growth of the plant.
If one were to describe its taste, it would be a curious mix combining a slight astringency, a sweet touch and a strong dose of umami. Theanine contributes in particular to give the tea its softness, thanks to its umami, also highly sought after by the Japanese.
It tastes like nothing, but it is a flavor enhancer, whiches means that it amplifies the perception of aromas in the tea. It’s like a pinch of salt added to your food.
Regardless of taste, theanine also has an effect on your body. It plays a soothing role in reducing mental and physical stress. This effect was measured using electroencephalograms made between waking and sleeping. It's as if it would help to bring us to a state of meditation.
Mmmmmh you feel relaxed ...?