We are excited about a signature tea from the Laotian farmer, Insay, who lives in Ban Payasi village. This season he made Sheng tea for us. Leaves were collected from the tea garden in the Ban Payasi area, mostly by his wife, son and nephew. One of them would bring the raw leaves to the hut on the hill where Insay set up everything for making tea. He roasts tea and his wife rolls and shapes it. Then the leaves are spread on cloth on the ground to sun-dry. In a few hours tea is ready. It seems like a very simple process but it is not at all.
His tea is definitely special, not like the usual Sheng Pu-erh tea or any other teas made in that village. It has a unique character with some sweetness and smokiness and a strong distinguished finish. Even a novice to tea culture would recognize that this tea as a delicious one!
What makes it unique? First, the tea is made entirely by hand in relatively small amounts. Each week we would visit Insay to pick up the freshly made tea. Sometimes he would have only three to four kilos ready, and never more than 15 kilos. The tea was always very well sorted and of high quality. We got lucky when we met Insay. He is practically the only Laotian in Phongsali, who loves tea that much and seriously cares about its quality.