Preparing tea according to the Gong Fu method

In Taiwan and in some regions of China, tea is prepared according to the Gong Fu method. This requires a very small teapot, smelling cups, tasting cups and a tea boat, a hollow vessel into which you pour the water used to rinse the tea and the cups.

The Gong Fu method consists of infusing the same tea leaves repeatedly for just a few seconds at a time. Each infusion, known as “water”, releases new aromas, until there are no more.

This method is particularly appropriate for the preparation of certain Wu Long or Pu Er teas. On Sunday I tasted a 2008 Pu Er Xiao using this method: it was a real treat.

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

Tea plants require pruning every five or ten years

If you want your tea plant to produce plenty of leaves, you need to take good care of it. Every five or ten years, for example, it will require pruning to a greater or lesser extent, to keep the plant in healthy condition. If it requires “hard” pruning, the main stems of the bush are cut back in the autumn to around 10 cm off the ground. It’s quite a sight to behold on a large scale: everything is grey and appears burnt, as if fire has ravaged the mountainside.  It looks quite depressing. But a few months later, the plants are bursting with life again as their beautiful pale green shoots herald the arrival of spring.

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

Two good reasons to drink tea

This hand reaching for a cup perfectly reflects the pleasure of drinking tea.

Does tea help the kidneys work better? Does it aid weight loss? Fight cancer? Do some teas contain more or less theine? These were some of the questions posed by the audience in the French television programme “Allo Docteurs”, which I appeared on last week. A nutritionist was also in the studio to answer health-related questions.

It’s always good to know that tea is a healthy drink. “A little tea every day keeps the doctor away,” say the Chinese. However, as far as I’m concerned, the most important quality of tea is the gastronomic pleasure we derive from it.

As I don’t have a photo showing the condition of the arteries of a regular tea drinker, I’m instead showing you this hand reaching for a cup, which I think perfectly reflects the pleasure of drinking tea.

Posted in Professional tasting by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

The little Darjeeling train manoeuvring in the street

The little Darjeeling train manoeuvring in the street.

I stand back to let the little Darjeeling train past, the famous “Toy Train”. I do so quickly as it isn’t always easy to know which direction it is travelling in. The whistle blows and amidst a terrible racket, here it is starting to gather speed. It is manoeuvring right in the middle of the street, surrounded by people and traffic. We can guess from the tense face of the driver, who has his back to the engine and is steaming straight ahead, that it isn’t an easy task.

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

Tea fields are also maintained during winter

Tea fields are maintained also during winter.

During the winter months, tea plants grow very little, if at all. So this is the time to work on maintaining the fields, such as in the wood park, for example. The term “wood park” denotes an area planted with bushes from which cuttings are taken. The plants are therefore chosen with great care. Each parent tea plant, like here in the wood park at Namring Tea Estate (India), can provide between 50 and 300 cuttings a year.

Posted in Country : India, Tea plant 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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