The “zhong”: two ways of using it well

In China, there are various ways of using the “zhong”. This recipient – also known as a “gaiwan” – can be used as a cup in which the tea infuses. You drink directly from it, retaining the cover and leaving a slight gap to hold back the leaves.

The “zhong” can also be used as a teapot for “gong-fu”, in which several short infusions are prepared. After each one, every last drop of tea is poured into a reserve pot, from which the guests’ tiny cups are filled.

Everyone then gets to taste a tea with particularly concentrated aromas, and to observe the changes in the liquor’s texture and fragrances, infusion after infusion.

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

Tea pluckers bringing out their umbrellas

With the weather we’ve had this June, there has been no need to worry about sunstroke. This is not the case everywhere. For example, in Darjeeling this season, when the pluckers have brought out their umbrellas it has been to protect themselves from the sun, not the rain. The women have good taste in their choice of bright, varied colours, making this landscape very similar to a cup of Darjeeling itself. Its floral, flowery, vegetal notes are a real treat for the palate.

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

Processing tea leaves in China

Here, near Hangzhou (China), the tea leaves are being processed on the scorching sides of the wok. The leaves are heated before being shaped as required, then dried. They must be processed quickly and precisely, which is why many farmers prefer to work with their bare hands.

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

The story of Chinese poet Lu Yu

We owe the very first writing on tea to the Chinese poet Lu Yu. The Cha Jing, “The Classic of Tea”, dates back to the 18th century. In his book, Lu Yu discusses the nature of tea itself, but most importantly he sets out a method for preparing and tasting it. A statue of this tea fanatic can be found by the excellent Long Jing Tea Museum (China).

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

Dilli Baskota, passionate about tea in Nepal

I’ve just completed my annual selection of spring teas from Nepal. They will be available in a few days’ time, once they have been shipped by plane. This year, the Guranse and Kuwapani plantations produced the best lots. They are truly remarkable: if you have never tasted these teas, don’t delay! They are worth trying.

Other gardens have made excellent progress and I’ve reserved two lots, one from the Everest Tea Estate, the other from the Kanchenjunga Tea Estate – an incredible plantation located in the far north of the Ilam Valley and run by my friend Dilli Baskota, pictured here. He is passionate about tea and is very involved in the sustainable development of the region.

Posted in Country : Nepal 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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