A premium tea from Kenya


In my teapot this morning, a portion of Mount-Kenya Golden-Leaves is opening up in the water. This is the first premium tea I’ve found in Kenya, and it has just arrived. I love its notes of honey, wood, wax and liquorice. They are warming, and celebrate the end of winter in their own way. They make you want to stay indoors a little longer, warm and cosy. They make you want to breathe in their aromas, cupping the bowl in both hands.

A premium tea from Kenya is a big deal. The country is the world’s third biggest tea producer, and the biggest exporter. Almost all the tea it produces is “dust”, for tea bags. So we should encourage those who are working hard to make quality teas, picking the leaves by hand with care, doing things the traditional, artisanal way, rather than on an industrial scale.
This photo shows the Kangaita research centre, which provides valuable support to small producers.

Posted in Country : Kenya by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags :

The microclimate of Darjeeling plantations


On the Delmas Bari plantation, where I was a few days ago, some plots were being watered as the ground was so dry. On this Darjeeling slope, which faces Sikkim, it hasn’t rained since October. In other areas, there had been a little rain in the previous days. This difference in climate on plantations barely a few kilometres apart is very specific to Darjeeling. Even on the same plantation there can be considerable variations in weather. Luckily, as we can see in this photo, the tender green buds are starting to grow. On this plot, there will be just one or two days longer to wait before the harvest can start in earnest.

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

A scarf for a blessing


In India, people sometimes welcome you by placing a silk scarf around your neck and blessing you. At DelmasBari, I was so saddened to see how dry the soil was that, in front of my hosts, I took the scarf that had just been given to me, and I blessed in my turn. I blessed one of the tea plants on the plantation, in the name of all the others, and I prayed for rain to come.

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

Waiting for rain in Darjeeling


In Darjeeling, where I am at the moment, there wasn’t a drop of rain in January or February. This means most plantations haven’t started to harvest yet. Only the ones with plots at low altitudes, who irrigate their plants, have been able to produce a few batches. But here, the first teas are never the best. In Darjeeling, when you’re looking for quality, you can never be in a hurry.

Posted in Country : India 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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