Huey Wa is a small village located in the North-East of the massive mountain range that draws the border between Yiwu and Laos.
The tea gardens are located deep in the forest, a good two hours walk from the village. The middle stage of the forest is cleared to make room for the tea trees. The canopy is trimmed in order to create a partial shade environment. These forested tea gardens are quite rare nowadays and are mainly found at the Yiwu-Laos border.
Most of the tea trees were planted around 2007, the area took advantage of the Pu-erh tea boom in China. Traders would come from Yiwu to buy the tea. Some gardens feature larger tea trees. They could have been planted a long time ago, abandoned and rediscovered.
Despite recent developments, the area remains hard to access. Electricity and running water are not always available in Huey Wa village. The facilities used to make tea are rudimentary. Yet, the tea went through skilled hands, it was processed by Houngkeo, the technician who works for the NGO we help. He is in charge of training the farmers on how to process tea. We spent a long time supervising the process.