We have just received a new first flush Darjeeling !

We have just received a new first flush Darjeeling, Longview DJ1, the first lot of the year from the Longview Tea Estate. Because of its location, this garden fortunately avoided the road blocks recently put in place, which I told you about last time, and managed to get its tea to Kolkata.

In the mouth, this tea develops planty, almondy notes. It has a fresh start, followed by delicate aromas of camphor.

These smiling faces belong to pluckers who work at Longview, enjoying a well-earned break.

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

The Shoren-In temple in Kyoto: a haven of peace

With the terrible images coming out of Japan at the moment, and with so many people in distress, I wanted to show you another side to this country, and pay homage to its beauty.

In the east of Kyoto, next door to the Chion-In temple, the Shoren-In temple hides in the shade of maple, eucalyptus and willow trees. Cross the stone garden, remove your shoes and step onto the wooden walkway. Admire the soft light filtered by the shojis, stop to look at the pond and then the garden, with its different coloured mosses. A little further on, a tea ceremony is taking place. The host takes the bowl of tea in both hands and raises it slowly up to his forehead, as a sign of respect.

Posted in Country : Japan, Places I like in Kyoto by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , ,

In Darjeeling, an abandoned tea growers’ club

The social life of tea growers is not what it used to be. Look what has become of one of the Darjeeling growers’ clubs today!

This magnificent building is in an advanced state of disrepair, and every time I pass it, not far from the Namring Tea Estate, it saddens me. Situated at the top of the valley and enjoying a magnificent view, its abandoned state sadly only seems to affect me.

Under British rule, and up to around 20 years ago, planters would meet at least once a week, and would value this special opportunity to get together. Today, there is greater competition, and television, like everywhere, is destroying social life. So people stay at home.

Posted in Country : India, Places I like in Darjeeling by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

B157, P312 and AV2 : three cultivars from Darjeeling

Here we have, from left to right: B157, P312 and AV2. These are their familiar names. Their full names are as follows: Bannockburn 157, Phoobsering 312 and Ambari Vegetative 2. They are cultivars, or “clonals”, as they are called here: tea plants created using different methods, generally by taking cuttings.

Each of the three cultivars has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of its weather hardiness and resistance to pests, its taste and aromatic qualities, and its productivity. They take their names from the plantation that created them.

These cultivars, along with some 30 others developed by the Tea Research Association, are suited to the Darjeeling region. Different cultivars are grown in other parts of the world.

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

Peaceful Kyoto scene in homage to the tsunami victims

This image of a stream gently winding its way between the ancient wooden houses of Kyoto’s old town haunts me as I think of all the victims of the terrible earthquake.

The contrast – particularly strong in Japan – between the tranquillity of nature and an earth capable of rising up and swallowing so many lives, reminds us of the fragility of our existence.

Of course, I am thinking of all my friends over there, of the people who work for Le Palais des Thés in Tokyo, of our suppliers, and particularly of those in the prefecture of Iwate, north of Sendai, which has been so badly affected.

Posted in Country : Japan, Places I like in Kyoto 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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