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Made With Molecules

theanine earrings


I savor tea not like beverage but like an experience. Each morning I look forward to getting up, partially in anticipation of my first cup of tea. I enjoy the ritual of boiling water, watching the color of the tea leaves seep into the cup, and smelling that first cheery whiff.

Learning about theanine has made me even more fond of tea. Theanine is a rare amino acid, only having been found in three unrelated species: Camellia sinensis (drinking tea), an Ecuadorian bush also used for beverages, and a certain type of Boletus mushroom. It is a relative of glutamate and, like glutamate, has properties of exciting nerve cells and giving an umami flavor.

Theanine has other psychoactive properties. It can improve mood, lower stress, and improve thinking. It has a synergistic relationship with caffeine and may even work as a therapy for some mental disorders.

Theanine affects alpha wave activity, and helps our brains enter a state that is both relaxed and aware. Some monks use tea as an aid to meditation, reaching for a mental space of "mindful alertness."

All kinds of tea - white, green, black, oolong - contain high amounts of theanine. Shade grown tea can have higher concentrations than plants grown in full sun.

In short, theanine is amazing, and it is a big part of what makes tea special. If you love tea, this molecule might be a big part of what you love about it. Of course, I had to make it in silver.

The theanine charms are solid sterling silver. They are almost an inch long and attached to solid sterling silver French wires. Each pair comes with a info tag about theanine in a recycled gift box tied with a ribbon.

(The last photo shows my necklace based on EGCG - another wonderful molecule from tea!)