The little Darjeeling train comes by… and it’s chaos !

The little Darjeeling train is special because it likes to cross the road a number of times. It travels slowly, and so inevitably creates traffic jams, which the tourists love because it gives them time to take pictures.
I like the fact that this little train of Darjeeling has the same familiarity with my blog as it has with the road, and crosses it from time to time, whenever it takes its fancy. It’s as if we must give way to it, and wait patiently while it passes.


Posted in Country : India by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

The earth of origin of the Grand Yunnan Imperial

Yunnan is known for its red earth, which is highly fertile. Agriculture, like the tea here, is one of the main resources of this region, which borders the Mekong. Thanks to the clement and relatively stable temperatures, teas like the Grand Yunnan Imperial can be harvested all year long with no noticeable difference in quality.

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Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , ,

A clever trick to ensure a quality tea harvest

On some tea plantations, they use a long bamboo stick to ensure a quality harvest. This photo taken in the Nilgiri (India) shows how it is used: the plucker has placed it in front of her and only takes the shoots that extend beyond it. This prevents the plucking of the previous season’s leaves, which are tougher and don’t produce good tea.


Posted in Country : India, Tea plant by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Tea pluckers harvest tea leaves with bamboo sticks

When you harvest the tea leaves, you must take great care to pick the right parts. Only the tea bud and the two adjacent leaves give you true quality. Sometimes, to prevent the tea pluckers from taking too much off, they are given a short piece of bamboo. This helps them pick just the right length of shoot and is a reminder of the standards of excellence required (like here at the Namring Tea Estate, Darjeeling, India).


Posted in Country : India, Tea plant by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I don’t trust plantations that prohibit taking photos

At some tea plantations, they don’t like you taking photos. Sometimes, like here at Kora Kundah (southern India), there are even signs prohibiting it. I always wonder what this means. What do they have to fear from me taking photos? What is it they don’t want me to see? Most of the time it is simply a statement of ownership, a way of prohibiting trespassing. In reality, at the plantation of Kora Kundah, I know I’m free to go where I like and to photograph whatever I want. It is actually a great tea plantation, producing teas of high quality with organic and fair trade labels.

I don’t trust tea estates that limit their access or prohibit taking photos. At first I always ask why. If the reasons are not convincing, I refuse to trade and politely turn back. One mustn’t generalize, but I notice that this happens in Sri Lanka more than anywhere else.


Posted in Country : India by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

The author

François-Xavier Delmas is a passionate globetrotter. He’s been touring the world’s tea plantations for more than 20 years in search of the finest teas. As the founder of Le Palais des Thés, he believes that travelling is all about discovering world cultures. From Darjeeling to Shizuoka, from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle, he invites you to follow his trips as well as share his experiences and emotions.

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