News from Darjeeling

This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting Abhishek Bagaria, the owner of Phuguri Tea Estate, Orange Valley Tea Estate and Millikthong Tea Estate. He hopes to be able to go ahead with the harvesting on his various plantations in the next couple of weeks.
After a cold, dry winter, the weather conditions are now favourable. We must now just hope that the political tensions which have reignited over the thorny issue of autonomy for the Darjeeling region will not lead to strikes and road blocks.
There are still hurdles to overcome before we can enjoy these Darjeeling teas – but they will be worth the effort!


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

Rooibos tastings

There are different grades of rooibos, but not much difference between them. However, the “long cut” offers the most interesting experience in terms of fine flavours and powerful aromas. It is the most harmonious. It is the only grade I have bought for years.
An amusing detail: for rooibos tastings in South Africa, the cups are lit from beneath in order to judge the clarity of the liquor.

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

In Darjeeling, the spring harvest is approaching

In a few weeks’ time, the spring tea harvest (first flush) will begin in Darjeeling. The weather is a decisive factor in determining the timing of the harvest, and Darjeeling fans will be as happy as I am to learn that it has finally just rained there, after a long period of dryness.
Anil Jha, the planter at Sungma, has just informed me that on the night of 16 February, between 18 and 32 millimetres of rain fell in the region.

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

The oxidation of rooibos

As soon as they are plucked, the rooibos shoots are cut and sprinkled with water. Then the oxidation process can begin. This takes place outside and causes the leaves to change colour, from green to brown. When it has oxidised to the right degree, the rooibos is spread out on the ground in a fairly thin layer, so it can dry in the sun.

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

The rooibos harvest in South Africa

The rooibos harvest has begun, and I am happy to be here. The harvest lasts less than two months. South Africa is the only country that produces rooibos, a plant sometimes known as “red tea”, but which is not a tea at all.
Rooibos is rich in antioxidants and is completely free of caffeine. It is my favourite drink before going to bed.

Posted in Country: South Africa 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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