The 2021 Laos Red Tea is a great example of a Shaihong black tea. Shaihong means that this tea was sundried at the end of its processing rather than machine dried. As a result, it retains a certain wildness about it that is less common in Yunnan Dianhong (electric dried) teas.
The leaves exude a spicy mix of tannins and raw cocoa. The color of the brew is an incredibly consistent red that holds for many infusions. The brew is rich in minerals and thick in tannins while still offering a little sweetness mixed with a lot of cinnamon and cardamom spices leaving a pleasant dryness on the tongue.
This years Laos Red is more uniform in pick and the leaves are much more tender than the 2020 batch. The makers are obviously gaining in experience and producing better and better red teas each year!
The tea has been fully oxidized by rolling before the green has been killed in a wok and sun dried. As a result, this tea is very soothing on the stomach, it is much more tame than it's green counterpart. We recommend this tea to those with sensitive stomachs that don't agree with young raw puer or green teas.
Our Laotian red tea comes from an isolated village some 30 or 40 km South of the Chinese border. We traveled into these isolated mountains in January of 2020 to meet the makers and check out the trees. These teas are all made from what we would - without hesitation - call ancient trees (100+ years). And the tea is all grown, made, and sold by the Keosuyaping family. The environment, production, and people were all up to our standard, and we are proud to collaborate with the Keosuyaping family and offer their teas to the Western market.
If you're interested in tasting the full range of the Keosuyaping family's teas, check out the Spring 2021 Laos Tea Sampler.