Spring comes round again

Nepal harvest

After Darjeeling, we turn our attention to Nepal, China and Japan, to enjoy their new spring teas. In Japan, we return to the farmers we know, and we also enjoy discovering teas from others. In China, we are guided by the traditional appellations, which are attached to a particular village. In Nepal, we know which plantations are capable of producing the best teas at particular times of year. There is sometimes an added difficulty though, like here at Kuwapani. The planter, who was an employee rather than the owner of the plantation, has left. What will the results be like under his successor? We’ll know the answer in a few months’ time. Meanwhile, let’s enjoy tasting the new teas this spring has to offer!


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

Tea in your cocktails – a novel and delicious idea!

Tea cocktail

 
You can use tea in many ways. In cooking, if there is water, milk or single cream in a recipe, for example, you simply infuse the tea in the liquid and filter it. I’ll come back to that subject soon. You can also make cocktails with tea. If you’d like to try it, you can infuse tea directly in alcohol, though you may have to use more tea and steep it for longer. You can also prepare a strong tea in the usual way, and use it as an ingredient. Herbal infusions are also very good in cocktails. Philippe Carraz, head barman at the Alcazar, is pictured here mixing a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail made from agave syrup, fresh ginger, our Romantic Garden and a few sprigs of thyme. Let me know what you think.


Posted in Tea and food pairing by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : ,

Chai is great!

Chai wallah in Kolkata

You know how they are, tea drinkers – they can be obsessive. They save a special teapot for a particular tea, they infuse some teas for exactly three minutes and 45 seconds in water at 85°C, others for just two minutes in water at a maximum temperature of 60°C.

So this photo I took in Kolkata makes me smile. Firstly, because I really enjoy drinking chai when I’m in India. Secondly, because all the tea-drinker’s principles have gone out of the window here. This chai wallah boils up his water, puts milk in his tea, adds a load of spices and works in basic conditions, seated on a scrap of cardboard placed on the pavement, without fanfare. And that’s what tea is about, too: simply made, with care, and an absolutely delicious drink in a cup. Chai is great!


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

Tea leaves under a shelter

A shelter for tea leaves

From the time the tea leaves are harvested to the moment they reach the factory for processing, they must not be allowed to start fermenting, as this could spoil the quality of the tea. So in various locations around plantations there are small shelters built to protect the leaves from rain until they are taken to the factory.


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

Love is in the streets

Love runs the streets

On the hoarding surrounding one of our stores during renovation work, above an image of a cup of tea held carefully in two hands (we don’t know if it’s being handed to someone or being admired, but we can tell it’s the focus of attention), there’s some graffiti that makes me happy. A friend pointed it out to me. It’s a statement, a piece of important news. It’s worth stopping to look at.

Usually, I tell you about my travels far away on the other side of the planet, often in the mountains covered in mist, but it’s also good to pay attention to one’s immediate surroundings, and not always tell oneself that the grass is greener, that life is undoubtedly better, elsewhere. L’amour court les rues. Love is in the streets. This is good news. Because we demand it, the media constantly bombards us with bad news and forgets to give us this essential information: love is in the streets.

From Paris to Bamako, from Brussels to Istanbul, we sometimes have reason to doubt it, but love is in the streets because it’s written here, and it’s much more newsworthy than some other events. The graffiti in question is actually located in a street that Saint Denis passed through, just after his head had been cut off, and he was holding it in his hands, on his way to the place where the basilica bears his name. So not only is love in the streets, but it came after the martyrs, reminding us that love is more powerful that all hatred put together.

What if this graffiti artist was right? What if love was in the streets and we didn’t notice it, because we didn’t have time, we weren’t present, weren’t paying attention, weren’t aware? Because we were lacking altruism, Matthieu Ricard would say? We must try to be happy, even if it’s just to set an example, wrote Prévert. We could try to make the streets a bit more human, smile at ourselves, be kind to ourselves whenever we can, look after ourselves, say thank you when appropriate, help ourselves when necessary. Yes, love is in the streets, so let’s welcome it instead of not seeing it, let’s make room for it. It’s up to us. Let’s not let it go.


Posted in Inspirational 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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