In the Nepalese mist…

In the mountains of Nepal, people still believe in the Yeti. I’ve not had the opportunity to meet the Abominable Snowman myself, but I’ve heard plenty about him from the villagers. What I do know is that he is not abominable and is not always the size that people claim. Around the Kanchenjunga Tea Estate (Nepal), the yetis, of which there are many in the region, are not even a metre high.

I wonder if the magic of the Himalayan landscapes might have a part to play in all this. The filaments of mist flanking the mountains, the trees that appear and disappear with the changing winds, which are so full of humidity they feel as thick as cotton, the paths that fade into the clouds… When the sky merges with the ground, it is easy to lose your bearings.


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

Tea pluckers like wearing a cloth tube around their arm

In different regions of the world, tea pluckers put on a wide cloth tube around their arm to protect their sleeve. A Camellia shrub proves to be quite tough and could easily widen a stitch of a fabric or simply tear a hole in it. This Chinese countryman I’m photographing unawares at work wouldn’t deny this.


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

A tea tree’s natural inclination

Last Friday, I told you about a clever mechanical system developed to make tasks easier for tea pluckers working on steep grounds (see the article). But you may wonder why tea is cultivated on such abrupt fields. Let me tell you why: unlike rice, tea trees like  keeping their feet dry and can only be produced on a very well drained area. An inclined ground is therefore ideal for their growth, as the rainwater runs away. In flat tea plantations, farmers must then install a draining system to keep bushes healthy. It would be as well to make the most of a natural environment, much simpler and less expensive!

On this photo taken on the very steep Namring Tea Estate near the Himalayan mountains, notice the tea trees’ difference of colours. On the foreground, the harvest has already been done, whereas in the background, the light-coloured young shoots have not yet been plucked.


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

A ski-tow for tea

Tea can be difficult to transport when the ground slopes. I already talked to you about it a few weeks ago, I explained how the horse could be a precious help to transport tea in Nepal (see the article). For the men and women who work on the plantations, it can also be very difficult sometimes to haul up their baskets full of tea leaves. All the more so since the garden where the leaves are harvested and the building where they are then processed are not necessarily at the same height.

Some tea plantations have thus developed a mechanical system we could compare to a ski-tow, to transport the bags full of tea leaves. At Namring Tea Estates (India) for example, tea pluckers hang two or three bags at the end of a rope fixed onto a cable, which are then hauled up mechanically. A solution making tasks easier for men and gaining time as well.

In this photo, Mister Chaudhury and one of his assistants seem to be gazing at these sacks climbing unaided.

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

Wu Long teas from Taiwan, jewels of teas

Wu Long teas from Taiwan are among the best teas in the world. By the way, we will receive beautiful Bao Zhong teas in a few days.

However, of that island, we easily have an image of a country whose activity is turned towards electronics and other micro-electronic components. In any case, not the image of an island whose territory is mainly covered by mountains. Taiwan is indeed divided by central ranges spreading from north to south and is very much appreciated by hiking lovers who enjoy walking on its small steep paths. During my trips, I can often see some of them, tired and out of breath but delighted by the beautiful landscapes around them.

This geography offering coolness and humidity combines the ideal conditions to grow high quality teas and we come across plantations a little bit everywhere in the country, each region producing distinct designations. The best Taiwanese teas are the “blue-green” or semi-oxidized: lightly oxidized Bao Zhong, Wu Long rolled up in perls (Jing Xuan, Gao Shan Cha) and Bai Hao Wu Longs.

Carine (see the post My travelling companions of last Friday) took this photo when we were in the county of Nantou in the centre of Taiwan. You can see the village of Lu Gu, perched on the crest of the Shan Lin Xi mountains, not far from the lake with the same name and near the place where great Dong Ding teas are produced.


Posted in Country : Taiwan 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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