So apparently quite a bit of tea from this part of Laos is masqueraded as eastern Yiwu as it borders the area and has similar material. The alleged story behind this tea is that Covid shut down the border making it impossible to sell the raw material in Yiwu so those who harvested the tea had to process it themselves which was done in a somewhat primitive manner. The result is a tea less complex and thick than a GFZ or WanGong but still pleasant and most importantly deep powerful qi that’s almost as good as tea from the above area at a fraction of the price. The flavors remind me of other Laotian teas I’ve had which is to say they taste like lemongrass to me. Culinarily speaking, this is a bright refreshing tea that goes well with a summer hike or a bowl of pho soup. None of the deep complexity of a good Yiwu but all the qi and an excellent tea for grandpa style brewing on a hike. If you want something with qi almost as good as GFZ area tea and don’t mind a simpler flavor profile with little mouthfeel (for $90 a cake instead of $500) this is a tea to try . Note, this tea also seems to be processed in a manner that retains a bit more bitterness, resinous notes and a whiff of smoke that I reckon may make it more suitable for aging than most newly pressed sheng. My stomach problems have forced me to cut my consumption of young sheng way back and most of my tea consumption has been natural Taiwan stored Yiwu…but at this price I bought a few cakes and threw them into heated storage for the long haul 6 months in and the smoke and acrid off notes are already faded.

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I’ve been a huge fan of all manner of black tea since the early 90s particularly second flush Darjeeling, Fujian, Yunnan and Assam teas but last winter fell headfirst into the sheng world and the rest is history…


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